BOMB THE ROOT: The Yinka Shonibare Interview

In this 2005 interview from the BOMB Digital Archive, British-Nigerian multimedia artist Yinka Shonibare MBE talks Trojan horses, bringing high culture to the street and wreaking havoc in the art world.

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Yinka Shonibare MBE is an artist who works in layers. First you have comedy: Victorian era gentiles mid-orgy, oh my! Second, you have historical reproductions: Victorian era bustles, impeccable! Third, you have colonialism: This brightly colored cloth is African not British! And lastly, you have a whole new understanding of race, hierarchy and world history.

The message may be serious, but the tone is light. Shonibare himself likens his “fantasies of empowerment” to a Trojan horse, “with the Trojan horse, you can go in unnoticed. And then you can wreak havoc.”

Natalie Hopkinson recently reviewed his mid-career retrospective at the Smithsonian's National Museum of African Art.

In this heavily theoretical interview from BOMB Magazine in 2005, Shonibare speaks about his interest in high culture and his progression from sculpture to photography to video to ballet. Quoting Roland Barthes, Bertolt Brecht and the French New Wave, Shonibare addresses the theory behind his practice and his commitment to bringing high culture to the street.

Read the full interview from BOMB Magazine Issue 93, Fall 2005.