London | United Kingdom
Yinka Shonibare has carved a permanent space in the hearts of many through his iconic sculpture works, with their complex depth, thought-provoking subjects and striking beauty. As such his works have been praised and enjoyed throughout the world. The news that one of his iconic peaces will find its new permanent home in Africa has therefore been met with great anticipation. The Goodman Gallery recently made the announcement that the Norval Foundation (South Africa’s newest art museum based in Cape town) has made the permanent acquisition of Africa’s first Yinka Shonibare wind sculpture, Wind Sculpture (SG) III.
This piece will not only be the first wind sculpture acquired by any institution on the content, but will also be the first work by the artist to be on permanent display in Africa. This public will be able to view this much-anticipated piece in February 2019 on the continent where the British Nigerian artist was born. To increase visibility amongst his own people he will be facilitating global dialogues with his singular practice. Shonibare commented:
“I am thrilled that Wind Sculpture (SG) III has been acquired by the Norval foundation bringing visibility to my work in Africa. The principle of this acquisition will resonate far beyond the institution itself. I can’t tell you how proud I am.”
‘Classic Shonibare’ is the description given by Editor and critic Jeffrey Kastner (Art Forum) for the Wind Sculpture series. His proud words were, ‘Working against the grain of the stale heroism that marks so many public sculptures, a conscious strategy in a time when the amnesiac triumphalism of civic statuary has rightly come under critical scrutiny, Shonibare has recast the familiar figure of the monument in a different, properly indeterminate sort of finery: one that evokes unseen forces and effects, and that speaks to passages, both voluntary and coerced, between distant places’
Since the case of the Cecil John Rhodes monument being removed completely from public view has instilled debates and the relevance of colonial statues have been questioned. Many argue that Shonibare’s iconic ‘anti monuments’ paves the easiest approach to the issue. His work possibly answers the question as to how reparative artwork can be made to fill the voids once the icons of previous value systems have been rejected.
Liza Essers, Director and owner of Goodman Gallery stated:
“It is very exciting for one of the only public sculpture parks in South Africa to be investing in this important artist from the Diaspora and bring his work back home, as it were. We are thrilled to have the Norval Foundation join the art community and offer something so necessary and unique. The fact that Norval is to be funding the production of major sculptures and installations – in addition to acquiring a permanent collection of sculptures – indicates a dedication to African art that deserves recognition.”
General of Tivoli (2018) is a new sculpture by Yinka Shonibare which prefigures the artist’s highly anticipated exhibition with the gallery this September, titled Ruins Decorated – his first solo show on the continent in over fifteen years.
The work, which is embellished in ‘African’ Batik patterns, considers what it means to wrestle with colonial histories with a reparative aim, interrogating narratives of power, death, and reinvention by exploring the transformation of sculptures once decorated in the glory of the Roman and British Empire.
Image courtesy of the artist