In Art, Anything is Possible: A Conversation with Yinka Shonibare
by Jan Garden Castro
The tableaux usually feature headless figures dressed in exaggerated fashions. Shonibare favors the Victorian era for its aristocratic repression of high emotions behind lavish attire and manners. Yet his figures are not pure Victorians; their clothes are made of the kind of brightly colored fabric worn by working-class Africans in the ’60s and ’70s. The cloth itself is hybrid, fusing Indonesian designs, British and Dutch manufacture, and the symbols and myths of African identity; as such, it symbolizes a mixed representation of Africa.