A new sculpture by Yinka Shonibare MBE has been unveiled in New York’s Central Park.
Wind Sculpture (SG) 1 is 23 feet tall and has been commissioned for the Doris C. Freedman Plaza at the entrance to the Park. The piece is intended to convey the importance of inclusion and freedom in the US. It replaces a sculpture of a doctor who carried out surgical experiments on enslaved black women without anaesthesia. With the sculpture, Shonibare responds nationalistic tendencies in the UK and US with the message that inter-cultural relationships should not be simplified.
“We’ve seen a rise in nationalism in Britain with issues around Brexit, in the US with the issues around the Dreamers, and as an artist, I’m not necessarily going to promote anything that excludes people,” [...] “Many people have come to the US from different parts of the world, the same with Britain, and there is something quite false about pure races. It’s a fallacy, in a way. That’s what my work seeks to expose.” - Yinka Shonibare, The Guardian.
This message is emphasised by the form and pattern used for Wind Sculpture. The sculpture’s surface patterns are inspired by the batik textiles which originated in Indonesia but later became associated with Europe’s colonisation of West Africa. Its fiberglass form is swirling and full of movement reminiscent of the sails of a ship. The statue speaks of mobility, difference, the complexity of identity and the possibility of change.
Wind Sculpture (SG) I by Yinka Shonibare MBE is on display at Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park, New York until 14 October 2018.