Yinka Shonibare receives Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon Award

Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare has won the Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award. He is the eighth artist to receive the prestigious annual award in celebration of his “outstanding contribution to our cultural life”, states Nadja Swarovski.

With the support of the Swarovski Foundation, the Gallery’s ceremony will take place in March, though virtually, and will be hosted by the Director of the Whitechapel Gallery Iwona Blazwick OBE. It will also celebrate the Gallery’s long-term commitment to youth programmes through a number of live presentations.

Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, 2014. Photograph: James Mollison

Shonibare, born in Lagos, Nigeria and now living in east London, is highly acclaimed for his multi-faceted work that delves deeply into issues of race, class and colonialism. He touches upon Western notions whilst challenging cultural and national identities against the backdrop of globalisation.

Shonibare’s work has not only had an international impact, but he has also dedicated much of his time to the younger generation of artists. Through founding the Yinka Shonibare Foundation and his “Guest Projects”, Shonibare encourages artists to practice their disciplines and connects Africa with other countries through artist residencies located in Nigeria.

Blazwick praises Shonibare, calling him an “exemplary Art Icon” whereby “both his artistic legacy and his charitable initiatives will resonate for years to come.”

by Amie Bawa

Whitechapel Gallery gala celebration will take place virtually on March 22, 2021.

More information can be found here