Sydney, Museum of Contemporary Art


Yinka Shonibare refers to himself as a "postcolonial hybrid." His political views shine through in his work in a witty way even though it's about serious stuff. He is best known for his headless mannequins in frothy dresses reminiscent of the Rococo style favored by the French aristocracy during the reign of Louis XV. Yet0 the dresses were made with batik fabric, often labeled as African, which Shonibare buys from Brixton market. The fabric actually originated from Indonesia and was introduced to Africa by British manufacturers in the nineteenth century. These ideas about social, political and cultural issues, and colonialism in particular, simmer in a melting-pot and bring forth visually surprising, thought-provoking artworks.

Born in London in 1962, Shonibare grew up in Nigeria and then moved back to London at the age of 17. He always uses "MBE" after his name, finding it ironic that he was made a Member of the Order of the British Empire. This exhibition is like a mid-career retrospective and showcases painting, sculpture, photography and film made over the last 12 years. It includes "Un Ballo in Maschera" (A Masked Ball), about the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden in 1792, which was exhibited at the Tate when Shonibare was short-listed for the Turner Prize in 2004.

September 24, 2008, through February 1, 2009
140 George Street
The Rocks
Sydney, NSW 2000
T. +612 9245 2400