Art, Africa and Social Change



6:30 pm - 8:15 pm


Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL


15 (Non Members), £12 Non-members concession & £10 Royal African Society Members

Acclaimed British-Nigerian artist, Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA), delivers the Royal African Society’s 2019 Annual Lecture reflecting on art as a means for social change. Shonibare’s multi-disciplinary practice explores colonialism and post-colonialism within the context of globalisation. By examining race, class and the construction of cultural identity, Shonibare’s works comment on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.


Shonibare’s commitment to social change through his art and curatorial work has resulted in the development of the Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation, which has set in motion a new artist residency space in Lagos, Nigeria, due to open in 2021. Launched under the umbrella of The Yinka Shonibare Foundation, the newly established G.A.S Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to facilitating international artistic and cultural exchange, creating opportunities for a diverse pool of artists both from Africa and the rest of the world.

Join us to hear first-hand about Shonibare’s plans for this new artistic space, his life-long career and what motivates him to continue creating art with a social impact.



Yinka Shonibare CBE (b. London, UK, 1962 ) moved to Lagos, Nigeria, at the age of three. He returned to the UK to study Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art, London and Goldsmiths College, London, where he received his Masters in Fine Art.


In 2002, he was commissioned to create one of his most recognised installations, Gallantry and Criminal Conversation for Documenta XI. In 2004, he was nominated for the Turner Prize and in 2008, his mid-career survey began at Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; touring to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C. In 2010, his first public art commission Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London, and was acquired by the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.


In 2013, he was elected as a Royal Academician and in 2017, Wind Sculpture VI was featured in the courtyard of the Royal Academy of the Arts, London as part of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. Shonibare was also commissioned by the Yale Center for British Art to create Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina for inclusion in ‘Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World’, which went on display at Kensington Palace, London in 2017.


In January 2019, Shonibare was awarded the decoration of ‘Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ or CBE, a title he has added to his professional name.

His installation ‘The British Library’ was recently acquired by Tate and is currently on display at Tate Modern, London until 2020.


Shonibare’s works are included in prominent collections internationally, including the Tate Collection, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C; Museum of Modern Art, New York; National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; National Gallery of Modern Art in Rome and VandenBroek Foundation, The Netherlands.




18:30 – 19:00: Arrival and registration at Security and Staff Entrance on Cromwell Road.

19:00 – 20:15: Public event in the Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre. Lecture followed by interactive audience Q&A.

Please note arrival and registration is at the Security and Staff Entrance on Cromwell Road rather than the main museum entrance.



£15 Non-members – Buy tickets

£12 Non-members concession – Buy tickets

£10 Royal African Society Members – Buy tickets using your RAS member discount!


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