Decolonised Structures (2022)

Yinka Shonibare
Decolonised Structures
Hand-painted fibreglass, wooden plinth Dimensions variable
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and supported by Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
Courtesy of the artist; Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; James Cohan Gallery, New York; and Goodman Gallery, Cape Town, Johannesburg and London


Yinka Shonibare’s practice is situated in conversation with the growing activism around the decolonisation of public spaces
and the reorientation of historical education. Decolonised Structures (2022) is his recreation of seven public statues of British imperialists that currently shape London’s cityscape. Stripped of the authority of bronze and marble, as well
as their position within the built environment of a metropolitan centre, the slightly smaller-than- life-sized statues are instead shrouded in the colonial legacy of
Dutch wax patterns—a fabric design with Indonesian origins mass- produced by the Dutch and sold to Britain’s West African colonies. By reproducing and decontextualising these monuments, Shonibare reveals the structural racism underlying their conception.