Yinka Shonibare

Camden Arts Centre

DUTCH WAX-PRINTED COTTON FABRIC masquerades as authentic African textile both for Westerners and for Africans seeking to break with Western dress, despite the fabric's passage from Indonesia through Holland and the mills of Manchester to the markets of Africa, North America, and Europe. It has become a signature of Yinka Shonibare's work, which emerged at the end of the '80s as installations of small chunky “canvases,” frequently overpainted on the sides or faces with an acrylic impasto of biomorphic forms and installed in grids on a monochrome wall. Considering the pressures on black artists at that time to present “authentic” signs of their ethnicity regardless of their Western upbringing, Shonibare's use of the fabric represented the first of a series of tricky tropes manipulating a language of mistaken identity.

100 Years, 2000, is Shonibare's most recent rendition of this tactic: one

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