Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

After revisiting Yinka Shonibare’s work from last Thursday’s lecture on African art, I started to grow an interest in his title, “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.” Yinka Shonibare was born in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He moved back to London to study Fine Art first at Byam Shaw College of Art and then at Goldsmiths College.  Yinka Shonibare’s work focuses on the pre-colonization in Africa and their relationship to present day globalization. He mixes old Victorian style customs with traditional African fabrics to create a unified cultural sculpture . The merging of the two African and European cultures addresses the conflicts and the progression of becoming equal.  I find his concept of merging two cultures together to be very relevant to his personal life and to his MBE title.  For a English born Nigerian, to reflect on the English society he lives in and the culture he is originally from, poses several of questions for me.  Such as, what is more important his heritage, the society he lives in now, or globalizing the two together.  I believe Yinka Shonibare is a successful artist because he addresses his Nigerian culture.  But this poses another question, does a black artist have to address being black, to be successful??? And the same goes for a female, an Asian, a Latino.  Can’t they make art that does not address the issues of being for they are??

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