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Being an ArtistYinka Shonibare MBE (RA)
In his London studio, artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) reflects on what it means for him to be an artist, how he views his occupation as a utopian pursuit, and how the lines between the personal and professional aspects of his life are blurred.More information and credits
Producer: Wesley Miller & Nick Ravich. Interview: Susan Sollins. Camera: Ian Serfontein. Sound: Paul Stadden. Editor: Lizzie Donahue & Paulo Padilha. Artwork Courtesy: Yinka Shonibare MBE. Thanks: Ann Marie Peña.
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Known for using batik in costumed dioramas that explore race and colonialism, Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) also employs painting, sculpture, photography, and film in work that disrupts and challenges our notions of cultural identity. Taking on the honorific MBE as part of his name in everyday use, Shonibare plays with the ambiguities and contradictions of his attitude toward the Establishment and its legacies of colonialism and class. In multimedia projects that reveal his passion for art history, literature, and philosophy, Shonibare provides a critical tour of Western civilization and its achievements and failures.
“Half the time actually I don’t believe that I am doing what I’m doing. I’m realizing my dreams and that somehow is also my profession.”
Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)