"I still think the social function of art is that kind of negative aesthetic. Otherwise there’s no social function for it."
From "Art in the Twenty-First Century" Season 5 (2009)
“My work, all along, has been a critique of Empire,” says Yinka Shonibare MBE, adopting the honorific title of Member of the Order of the British Empire, with willful irony, as part of his name. Shown in his London studio, Shonibare is working on his first series of drawings in twelve years, taking as his subject climate change. The artist is also on hand for the installation of a retrospective of sculptures—headless, “post-racial,” mannequins dressed in vibrant costumes—at the MCA Sydney. Acting as the protagonist in two photographic series, Shonibare explores personal themes of leisure, excess, mortality, vanity and physical disability. The final work in the segment is a masked ballet that recounts the assassination of King Gustav III of Sweden. “Power creates excess,” he asserts, while playfully admitting, “I also, actually, would like to have the trappings of wealth myself, even though I may be criticizing it.”