Yinka Shonibare, one of two artists commissioned to create a new
piece for the Royal Academy, designed a sculptural mural of 18 dresses
outfitted in Shonibare’s recognizable patterns and styles. Other artist
displaying works Marina Abramović, Andreas Gursky, Claudia Losi, Susie
MacMurray, La Maison Martin Margiela, Alexander McQueen, Yoko Ono,
Grayson Perry, Dai Rees, Cindy Sherman, Helen Storey, Rosemarie Trockel,
Sharif Waked, Gillian Wearing RA, Yohji Yamamoto and Andrea Zittel.
A small snippet of Coline Milliard from ARTINFO UK interviews Yinka Shonibare’s and the back story about “Little Rich Girls”.
CM: Could you tell me about this new commission?
YS: The piece is called “Little Rich Girls.” It’s composed of Victorian dresses, about 15 of them on a wall. The dresses have some sort of corset inside to give them volume and they are suspended from floor to ceiling. They are all made from African textiles, and the piece plays around with the idea of flash and wealth. There’s a paradox: expensive clothing made of cheap material bought in the marketplace. There’s also the intrinsic contradiction of the fabrics’ manufacture. They are not really African, but Indonesian-influenced textiles produced by the Dutch for the African market. I really enjoy this.
CM: It’s not the first time that you’ve worked with period costume. What first attracted you to it?
YM: As you know my background is Nigerian. I’m very interested in the whole colonial issue and the fact that my own identity is based on the British encounter with Nigeria. I’m speaking in English to you now purely for that reason. My work explores the history of colonialism and how that relates to my own hybrid identity.