Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE
Inva­sion, Escape: Aliens do it right!

27th June – 11th August 2012
Anna Schwartz Gallery Carriageworks

The inau­gur­al exhi­bi­tion by Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, MBE (RA) at Anna Schwartz Gallery focus­es on the idea of the alien as a means of explor­ing the tur­bu­lent his­to­ry of immi­gra­tion. Fic­tion­alised beings as sym­bols of for­eign­ness pro­vide a humor­ous, naïve and pop­ulist aes­thet­ic to raise issues of belong­ing in a glob­alised world.

The exhi­bi­tion high­lights the ten­sion between autho­rized and unau­tho­rized set­tle­ment in Aus­tralia, a coun­try peo­pled by for­eign set­tlers since 1788. Debates in for­eign pol­i­cy, from the White Aus­tralia Pol­i­cy (1901) to the Pacif­ic Solu­tion (2001) are invoked by the works that com­prise Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!’.

Util­is­ing three medi­ums; sculp­ture, paint­ing and draw­ing, the audi­ence ini­tial­ly encoun­ters three aliens: a sin­gle stand­ing fig­ure and two in spec­tac­u­lar fly­ing machines which rup­ture the gallery space, sug­ges­tive of an inva­sion. The pieces address xeno­pho­bia and the alien­ation of foreigners.

Alien Toy Paint­ing, an imag­ined galaxy, com­pris­ing sev­en­ty-five round bat­ic paint­ings installed on a black back­ground, stretch­es across the gallery wall. Thick paint­ing is used alter­na­tive­ly on the front and the sides of the orbs. Bal­anced on del­i­cate, coloured spin­dles, a vari­ety of space themed toys halo the works. Lego men, Star Wars para­pher­na­lia and alien eggs play­ful­ly ques­tion the notion of cit­i­zen­ship and nationalism.

The exhi­bi­tion sig­nif­i­cant­ly includes a large scale assem­blage of twen­ty-four works on paper. These inti­mate col­lages chart Aus­trali­a’s his­to­ry of immi­gra­tion util­is­ing his­tor­i­cal doc­u­men­ta­tion includ­ing pas­sen­ger lists from the first ships leav­ing Eng­land, extracts from British court records, con­tem­po­rary news­pa­per arti­cles about the Tam­pa cri­sis, gold leaf and Sci-Fi car­toons. They are installed, by virtue of the coloured back­grounds and frames, in the form of the indige­nous Aus­tralian flag. This acknowl­edges the sig­nif­i­cance of Abo­rig­i­nal cul­ture as the foun­da­tion upon which Aus­tralia was built.

The theme of indi­gene­ity is fur­thered by Shon­i­bare’s Totem Paint­ings. Loom­ing, rec­tan­gu­lar paint­ings are propped against the walls, vivid­ly coloured, paint­ed nails spik­ing their sides. Shon­i­bare’s tac­tile paint sur­faces alter­nate between the side and front of the bat­ic can­vas­es. As a pop inter­pre­ta­tion of African fetish objects, the works speak of arti­fi­cial exoti­cism. The use of indus­tri­al­ly pro­duced tex­tiles, nails and paint com­bine to cre­ate Shon­i­bare’s iron­ic expression.

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, MBE (RA) was a Turn­er Prize nom­i­nee in 2004 and was award­ed the dec­o­ra­tion of Mem­ber of the Most Excel­lent Order of the British Empire. He was com­mis­sioned by Okwui Enwe­zor for Doc­u­men­ta XI’ in 2002. This notable inclu­sion intro­duced him to an inter­na­tion­al audi­ence, and recog­nised him as a lead­ing force in con­tem­po­rary African art. The artist has since exhib­it­ed at the Venice Bien­nale and in major insti­tu­tions world­wide. In 2008, a mid-career sur­vey was pre­sent­ed at the Muse­um of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Syd­ney; this exhi­bi­tion then toured to the Brook­lyn Muse­um, New York and the Nation­al Muse­um of African Art at the Smith­son­ian Insti­tu­tion, Wash­ing­ton D.C. In 2010, Shon­i­bare’s Nel­son’s Ship in a Bot­tle, his first pub­lic com­mis­sion, was unveiled in Lon­don’s high pro­file site for sculp­ture, the Fourth Plinth in Trafal­gar Square.

Images

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks
Pho­to: Paul Green

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks
Pho­to: Paul Green

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks
Pho­to: Paul Green

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks
Pho­to: Paul Green

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks
Pho­to: Paul Green

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Inva­sion, Escape; Aliens do it right!, 2012
instal­la­tion view, Anna Schwartz Gallery, Carriageworks
Pho­to: Paul Green

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Child, 2011
Steel arma­ture, MDF, sty­ro­foam glue and alu­mini­um, wadding and batik fabric
1157064 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien man on fly­ing machine, 2011
Steel, alu­mini­um, brass, batik and rubber
250450450 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien woman on fly­ing machine, 2011
Steel, alu­mini­um, brass, batik and rubber
150450400 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Toy Painting, 2011
Paint, batik, fab­ric, steel, spray paint and MDF
75 pan­els: over­all 375186016 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Totem Paint­ing 1, 2011
Paint, batik fab­ric, steel nails, spray paint and MDF
2506010 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Totem Paint­ing 2, 2011
Paint, batik fab­ric, steel nails, spray paint and MDF
2506010 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Totem Paint­ing 3, 2011
Paint, batik fab­ric, steel nails, spray paint and MDF
2506010 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Totem Paint­ing 4, 2011
Paint, batik fab­ric, steel nails, spray paint and MDF
2506010 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Totem Paint­ing 5, 2011
Paint, batik fab­ric, steel nails, spray paint and MDF
2506010 cm

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 1, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 2, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 3, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 4, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 5, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 6, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 7, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 8, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 9, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 10, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 11, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 12, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 13, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 14, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 15, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 16, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 17, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 18, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 19, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 20, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 21, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 22, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 23, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)

Yin­ka Shon­i­bare, CBE

Alien Flag Draw­ing 24, 2011
Paper, pen, batik, found paper and 22 carat gold leaf; framed
76.595 cm (framed size); 5474 cm (image size)