Shonibare, like Chris Ofili, his fellow YBA of African descent, has a rich heritage to draw on. He describes himself as a product of post-colonialism, and all culture as essentially artifice. His work, then, is concerned with issues of Empire and subverted narratives. That the conservative Royal Museums Greenwich should choose the outré Shonibare as the first contemporary artist ever to be displayed in its hallowed grounds is a delicious irony, lost on no one. Those who are new to Shonibare’s work might find both its placement and content thought-provoking. If, however, you are familiar with his motifs, you may find the setting more intriguing than the narrative.
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