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Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, Material (SG) IV

Material (SG) IV captures the idea of harnessing the wind, freezing it in time.

The sculpture can be viewed as a contemporary interpretation of a seascape, a subject developed in the seventeenth century, which often showed boats at the mercy of temperamental weather. Material (SG) IV is emblazoned with a pattern inspired by Shonibare’s signature Dutch wax batik fabric. This type of fabric was originally inspired by Indonesian designs, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold to colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s the material became a signifier of African identity and independence and, in the words of the artist, the ‘perfect metaphor for multi-layered identities.’ Adorned with this iconic design, the sculpture becomes a powerful symbol of the movement of people and global interconnectivity over time. 

About Yinka Shonibare CBE RA
Yinka Shonibare was born, studied and lives in London, but grew up in Lagos, Nigeria. Describing himself as a ‘post-colonial hybrid’, the artist creates work that explores issues of race and class through the media of sculpture, painting, photography, film, pictorial quilts and public works. He was awarded the decoration of MBE, Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2004 and CBE, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in 2019 and has added the title to his professional name.  

Artwork credit:
Yinka Shonibare CBE RA
Material (SG) IV 
Hand painted glass reinforced polyester cast 

Image credit: Installation views of Material (SG) IV (2023) by Yinka Shonibare CBE. Photos by Graham Turner.