British Council Unveils Yinka Shonibare’s First Outdoor Sculpture In Lagos

Posted on November 23, 2016



The British Council – the United Kingdom’s international organisation for cultural relations and educational opportunities has announced the unveiling of the first ever outdoor sculpture in Nigeria titled Wind Sculpture VI, a work by Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA).

Wind Sculpture VI, a fibreglass work six metres high by three metres wide, will go on display at the Ndubuisi Kanu Park in Ikeja, Lagos as part of the British Council’s UK/Nigeria 2015–16 season, which aims to build new audiences, create new collaborations and strengthen relationships between the two countries.

This is the first solo presentation in Nigeria by Shonibare, who was born in London and moved to Lagos as a child.

The artist will travel to Nigeria for the unveiling of the sculpture, give a talk to students and attend a screening of a selection of his film works at the site of the installation in Ndubuisi Kanu Park.

This is the first time that his work has gone on public display in Nigeria.

“It is particularly exciting to be showing my Art in Lagos, Nigeria the country of my childhood.  It gives me great pleasure to be launching my first exhibition in Nigeria in the context of a British/Nigerian cultural exchange,” Shonibare said.

“The importance of such an exchange can never be underestimated as it forms the basis for our mutual peace and prosperity through Art. Through my Art I am not afraid to explore new ideas and new ways of doing things, I challenge, provoke and entertain in equal measure. I am very much looking forward to my visit to Lagos, Nigeria,” he added.

The installation of Wind Sculpture VI forms part of a series of important large-scale works that marked a new departure for Shonibare by working in fibre-glass and steel. Using these materials, Shonibare investigates the shifting movement of wind passing through fabric and encapsulates the sheer, three-dimensional volume of wind.

Emma Dexter, Director Visual Arts, British Council, said “Yinka Shonibare is one of UK’s leading artists and his work epitomises the inventiveness and original characteristic of contemporary British art. I’m delighted that residents and visitors in Lagos will be able to enjoy his Wind Sculpture VI in Ndubuisi Kanu Park, and hope that this venture will herald the beginning of an exciting new chapter for public art in Nigeria.”

With his Wind Sculptures series, the artist has captured a moment in time where wind passes through his signature Dutch wax batik fabrics on a dramatically grand scale. These six metre high sculptures appear to be an ephemeral billowing form but are actually rendered in steel and fibreglass.

The organic concaved and convexed shapes formed by nature are mirrored in the patterns which replicate traditional ‘African’ fabrics. There is a different pattern and palette for each sculpture in the series that are hand painted onto the surface with bright colours. All of the these elements together lend the work a magical and poetic quality that deliberately plays on initial perceptions, frames of reference, a thread running throughout Shonibare’s practice.

Speaking on the Wind Sculpture VI and the UK/Nigeia 2015-16 Season, Connie Price, Country Director Nigeria, British Council, said; “This sculpture by Yinka Shonibare is a fitting climax to UK/Nigeria 2015–16. Since September 2015 there has been more than 30 projects and over 340 events in visual arts, fashion, design, theatre, dance, music, literature and film throughout Nigeria and events showcasing Nigerian creativity in the UK. I hope it has bought us closer together, forged new links and that we can build on what we have learnt in the future. Wind Sculpture VI is a wonderful sight and I hope it brightens the day of everyone who passes it.”

The British Council’s UK/NG 2015–2016 season promotes community engagement with arts and culture, boosting awareness around arts and culture in public spaces.

Wind Sculpture VI will remain in Lagos for three months and over that period the park will be the venue for talks, workshops and other wraparound public activities. The installation has been supported by GTBank and is a collaboration between Yinka Shonibare MBE(RA), Stephen Friedman Gallery and the British Council.

Interested participants can register on to attend the Wind Sculpture VI Exhibition from Thursday 24 November – 31 January 2017 at the Ndubuisi Kanu Park, Ikeja, Lagos.

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