September 1, 2009 · Leave a Comment
By Patricia Spears Jones
In this mid-career retrospective, Shonibare, the London-based Nigerian artist, examines Victorian dress forms and culture as a way to explore imperialism, globalization, and African identity. In the magnificent Scramble for Africa (2003), he recreates a meeting at the Berlin Conference of 1884-85: European nationals, clothed in well appointed suits made from colorful Dutch wax fabrics that were originally designed for an African market, decide how to carve up Africa. The portrayal is an ironic commentary on the indifference of these historic figures to the African nations and peoples they were about to alter in terrible ways.