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Wind Sculpture II (work of art)

Artwork Info

Artist Details
Nigerian (born England)
1962-
Medium
Sculpture
Created
2013
Dimensions
240 x 133 5/16 in x 31 3/16 in (609.6 x 338.6 cm x 79.2 cm)

Key Ideas about this Work of Art

Key Ideas about this Work of Art

  • Wind Sculpture II is a three dimensional sculpture made to resemble Dutch wax fabric which often uses bright colored shapes to make a geometric pattern such as that shown on the sculpture.
  • The artist, Yinka Shonibare, was born in London, but his parents were from Nigeria. In this work and many others, he references Dutch wax fabric to explore “multilayered identities” that happen as a result of the legacies of colonialism and trade. 
  • Dutch wax fabric was developed by the Dutch in the 19th century and used technology to mimic the hand-painted appearance of batik, which is a dying technique developed in China and India and refined in Indonesia, a Dutch colony. The British made it popular in Africa.

Learn More

Learn More

Known for his figurative works that use brightly patterned fabric to explore cultural identity, Yinka Shonibare, CBE (born in London to Nigerian parents) here transforms a wisp of cloth into a monumental sculpture. “None of us have isolated identities anymore,” he says, “and that’s a factor of globalization ultimately. I suppose I’m a direct product of that. The fabrics I use also look like they could be just African … but the fabric has a complicated history in its trade routes: it was originally designed as an Indonesian fabric, produced by the Dutch, and the British sold it into the African market. It’s a perfect metaphor for multilayered identities.”

In reference to his use of distinctive textile patterns in all of his work, including his recent Wind Sculptures, Shonibare has said:

“None of us have isolated identities anymore, and that’s a factor of globalization ultimately. I suppose I’m a direct product of that. The fabrics I use also look like they could be just African, because they are used a lot there. But what you see on the surface is not really what you always get. The fabric has a complicated history in its trade routes: It was originally designed as an Indonesian fabric, produced by the Dutch, and the British sold it into the African market. It’s a perfect metaphor for multilayered identities.

In a way, my sculptures produce this volume. It’s most apparent in Wind Sculptures, which capture the wind to produce something tangible out of the intangible. The shape of the sails capture a moment, like how the headless sculptures portray a larger historical moment. The difference between them is that something as insignificant as a breeze is turned into something monumental, while a historical time period is made universally ambivalent. That’s significant. Ultimately, I’m trying to grasp living with more than one culture in my head.*”

*As quoted in “500 Words: Yinka Shonibare MBE,” Artforum (April 9, 2013) at artforum.com.

Images

  • Wind Sculpture II by Yinka Shonibare

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  • installation of "Wind Sculpture II" by Yinka Shonibare

  • installation of "Wind Sculpture II" by Yinka Shonibare

  • Wind Sculpture II

    Wind Sculpture II by Yinka Shonabari