Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month – December 2015

Yinka Picture

On 4 December it is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and with this in mind we have chosen Yinka Shonibare as our Inspirational Diversity Champion of the Month.

Yinka is an artist whose work explores issues of colonialism alongside those of race and class, through a range of media which include painting, sculpture, photography, installation art, and, more recently, film and performance. He examines, in particular, the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. A hallmark of his art is the brightly coloured fabric he uses

At the age of 18 Yinka contracted transverse myelitis, an inflammation across the spinal cord, which resulted in a long term physical disability where one side of his body is paralysed. As a result of this he uses assistants to make works under his direction.

Yinka studied Fine Art first at Byam Shaw School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) and then at Goldsmiths, where he received his MFA, graduating as part of the Young British Artists generation.

Following his studies, he worked as an arts development officer for Shape Arts, an organisation which makes arts accessible to disabled people.

In 2004, he was shortlisted for the Turner Prize for his Double Dutch exhibition at the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam and for his solo show at the Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.

One of Yinka’s most seen works was ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ which became was the first public art commission on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.

Yinka became an Honorary Fellow of Goldsmiths’ College in 2003, received an Honorary Doctorate (Fine Artist) from the Royal College of Art in 2010, was elected Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts in 2013 and in 2004 Yinka was awarded an MBE.

To find out more about Yinka and his work see his website at .