The exhibition Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE at Norval Foundation brings together a series of artworks, including sculptures, photographs and a major installation, created between 2008 and 2018, which are connected through their use of Dutch Wax fabric. The exhibition is on show at Gallery 9, Norval Foundation until August 2019 and is curated by Portia Malatjie and Owen Martin.
Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE takes as its starting point an appreciation for the Dutch Wax fabric’s materiality and the conceptual as well as historical meanings associated with it, and provides a context for Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture (SG) III (2018), which has recently been acquired by Norval Foundation, and has been permanently installed in the Norval Sculpture Garden.
‘I am thrilled that Wind Sculpture (SG) III has been acquired by Norval Foundation, bringing visibility to my work in Africa,’ says Shonibare. ‘The principle of this acquisition will resonate far beyond the institution itself. I can’t tell you how proud I am.’
In addition to being visually compelling, the Dutch Wax fabric in Shonibare’s practice invokes a serious consideration of how visual cultures evolve and create meaning within a given framework.
Trade Winds: Yinka Shonibare CBE will provide visitors to Norval Foundation with the opportunity to observe the artist’s use of Dutch Wax fabric within his practice. At the centre of this exhibition is Shonibare’s African Library (2018), the most recent iteration of his library series venerating first or second generation immigrants who have shaped a country’s social, political or cultural life. Comprised of approximately 4 900 books covered in Dutch Wax fabric, African Library broadens the initial concept of the artwork by celebrating the contributions that immigrant and non-immigrant Africans have made to the continent’s independence movements, science, arts and technological innovation, by emblazoning their names in gold on the spines of key books. African Library includes a reading area where these books are available digitally.