Yinka Shonibare CBE: Planets in My Head

March 1, 2022 through October 23, 2022

After being closed for more than a year for renovations, our remodeled sculpture galleries have reopened with the much-anticipated exhibition Yinka Shonibare CBE: Planets in My Head.

Overview

This exhibition presents works by Yinka Shonibare CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the past three decades. Many of the works have never been shown in the United States, among them sculptures, paintings, photographs, collages, embroidery, and film. Shonibare, a self-proclaimed "postcolonial hybrid" of British-Nigerian heritage, has emerged as one of the leading artistic voices in the global art world. He is best known for his playful combination of colorful Dutch wax-fabric patterns popular in West Africa with the fashion of upper-class Victorian culture.

Born in London to Nigerian parents and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, where he spoke Yoruba at home and English at the private school he attended, Shonibare has a bicultural heritage. His identity is shaped by the postcolonial experience of being in two places at once; of growing up located between center and margin of the British Empire. Postcolonialism and hybridity define his artistic and political identity and are major themes in his prodigious artistic output. While Shonibare embraces cross-cultural mixing and exchange in his work, he never shies from alluding to the postcolonial scars of cultural imperialism and exploitation.

Yinka Shonibare's richly sensuous body of works at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park meet a unique environment of gardens and art. After visiting the sculpture galleries, venture across the BISSELL Corridor into one of our conservatories to see and smell plant species from climates around the world. Here, you’ll find a landscape inspired by the Victorian love for and scientific interest in horticulture, within the Earl & Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden Parlor filled with plants and sculptures. During March and April, experience the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory filled with thousands of butterflies, another species Victorians liked to collect and exhibit.

As this exhibition reveals, Shonibare thinks globally and uses his artistic imagination to comment on colonialism, art history, environment, education, knowledge, food justice, and other subjects of universal concern.

Learn

Essay by Jochen Wierich, PhD

Exhibition Guide

Fashion in Contemporary Art
Saturday, June 18, 11 am–12 pm
Suzanne Eberle, PhD, Professor Emerita, Kendall College of Art and Design

Abundance and Scarcity: Yinka Shonibare CBE and Food Justice
Saturday, July 16, 11 am–12 pm
Jochen Wierich, PhD, Associate Professor of Art History at Aquinas College

Complex Embodiment: Yinka Shonibare and Disability
Saturday September 3 and 10, 11 am–12 pm
Jessica Cooley, Guest Curator, Ford Foundation Gallery

Yinka Shonibare and the Pan-African Imagination
Saturday, October 1, 11 am–12 pm
Antawan Byrd, PhD candidate in the art history department at Northwestern University, Weinberg Fellow, associate curator of photography and media at the Art Institute of Chicago

Video Welcome

Events

Weinberg Fellow, Art History, Northwestern University & Associate Curator of Photography and Media, Art Institute of Chicago

Oct 1, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Past Event

Yinka Shonibare CBE and the Pan-African Imagination

We will consider the ways in which Shonibare’s multivalent engagements with planetary forms extend ideas and themes associated with Pan-Africanism.

Fee Information
Included with admission
PhD, ACLS Postdoctoral Associate, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities; Guest Curator, Ford Foundation Gallery, NYC

Sep 3, 2022 at 11:00 AM / Hauenstein & Pfeiffer Event Rooms

Past Event

Complex Embodiment: Yinka Shonibare CBE and Disability

In this talk we will explore the entwined forces of disability, race, and colonialism in the life and work of Yinka Shonibare.

Fee Information
Included in admission
Location
Hauenstein & Pfeiffer Event Rooms
Assistant Curator & Researcher at Meijer Gardens and Associate Professor of Art History at Aquinas College

Jul 16, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Past Event

Abundance and Scarcity: Yinka Shonibare CBE and Food Justice

We will explore his and other contemporary artists’ work that engages with food distribution and food justice.

Fee Information
Included with admission

May 14, 2022 at 11:00 AM

Past Event

Gallery Walk

Join a guided discussion in our newly opened galleries.

Instructor
Amber Oudsema
Fee Information
Included with admission

Apr 16, 2022 at 1:30 PM

Past Event

Ekphrastic Poetry Workshop with Mursalata Muhammad

Explore common themes of Yinka Shonibare CBE’s work.

Instructor
Mursalata Muhammad
Fee Information
Included with admission

Sponsors

Yinka Shonibare CBE: Planets in My Head is made possible by:

Bill Padnos & Margy Kaye

The Louis and Helen Padnos Foundation

The Meijer Foundation

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation

Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Michigan Arts and Culture Council, a Partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts

This exhibition presents works by Yinka Shonibare CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) from the past three decades. Many of the works have never been shown in the United States, among them sculptures, paintings, photographs, collages, embroidery, and film. Shonibare, a self-proclaimed "postcolonial hybrid" of British-Nigerian heritage, has emerged as one of the leading artistic voices in the global art world. He is best known for his playful combination of colorful Dutch wax-fabric patterns popular in West Africa with the fashion of upper-class Victorian culture.

Born in London to Nigerian parents and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, where he spoke Yoruba at home and English at the private school he attended, Shonibare has a bicultural heritage. His identity is shaped by the postcolonial experience of being in two places at once; of growing up located between center and margin of the British Empire. Postcolonialism and hybridity define his artistic and political identity and are major themes in his prodigious artistic output. While Shonibare embraces cross-cultural mixing and exchange in his work, he never shies from alluding to the postcolonial scars of cultural imperialism and exploitation.

Yinka Shonibare's richly sensuous body of works at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park meet a unique environment of gardens and art. After visiting the sculpture galleries, venture across the BISSELL Corridor into one of our conservatories to see and smell plant species from climates around the world. Here, you’ll find a landscape inspired by the Victorian love for and scientific interest in horticulture, within the Earl & Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden Parlor filled with plants and sculptures. During March and April, experience the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory filled with thousands of butterflies, another species Victorians liked to collect and exhibit.

As this exhibition reveals, Shonibare thinks globally and uses his artistic imagination to comment on colonialism, art history, environment, education, knowledge, food justice, and other subjects of universal concern.