In celebration of the forthcoming fifth season of Art:21—Art in the Twenty-First Century, broadcasting this October on PBS, each week we bring you a video clip from a featured artist’s segment. Up next is artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. Read a detailed explanation of Shonibare’s work back on Art21’s blog here, and read Anthony Downey’s 2005 interview with him here.
Known for using batik in works of extraordinary beauty that explore race and colonialism, Yinka Shonibare MBE also employs a variety of other media in work that disrupts and challenges our notions of cultural identity. About his work, he notes that his “job is to challenge the status quo, constantly looking at it from a different angle. Some people call it thinking outside the box. And that’s what interests me. Rather than just passively accepting the system, the idea is to actually turn the system another way and see what happens if we look at it from that angle. I want to make people see something different in the familiar.”
This video is excerpted from the Season 5 episode Transformation, premiering on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 at 10pm (ET) on PBS (check local listings). Transformation features three artists—McCarthy, Cindy Sherman, and Yinka Shonibare MBE—who populate their work with costumes and masks, makeup and style, dolls & mannequins, stage and cinema. Whether observing and satirizing society or reinventing icons of literature, art history, and popular culture, these artists inhabit the characters they create and capture the sensibilities of our age.