Yinka Shonibare (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yinka_Shonibare) is a wonderful artist and my good friend. His work is often breathtaking – cutting across many cultures, but fundamentally African. There are some who might ask how is Shonibare so fundamentally African – basically there is a place where you arrive at in terms of artistic creation that whatever you do reflects who you are and you have no need to imitate or reflect. That is Shonibare. Whatever he does is African – you may not be able to see it yet – relax , you will eventually. (http://www.yinkashonibarembe.com/)
Africa is not a place in history ( or pre-history as some might wish) , it is not something preserved in aspic. It is dynamic, disruptive confusing and energising, and some creators have earned the right to simply define who we are and since we accept it no one else has any say in the matter. We are who we say we are and Yinka has said who we are and Yinka is who we are – so there!
I was utterly entranced by his new exhibition. He has made powerful statements about the waste and arrogance of the world of fabulous money that came crashing down in 2008. He has made powerful statements about the attempt to objectify Africa and recently has made African fabric design a core motif
Yinka’s work has always been powerfully communicative. Before my wedding I insisted that my wife come and see Yinka’s work at the Stephen Friedman gallery. Reluctantly she came along (What’s the fuss can’t it wait said the investment banker!) But once she saw Yinka’s work she was bowled over. Yinka very graciously opened his studio for a special event just for my wedding guests. Thank you Yinka!