• Search Icon
  • Toggle Menu
  • Close Menu

The Art

Search for information about all the works of art and craft we have donated to museums

Aristocrat II (one from a set of six relief prints - Unstructured Icons) (2018)

Yinka Shonibare

woodblock and fabric collage on Somerset Tub Sized Satin 410gsm paper, contained within a wooden portfolio box bound in Dutch wax batik fabric

Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool

Aristocrat II (one from a set of six relief prints - Unstructured Icons) (2018)

© Yinka Shonibare CBE. All rights reserved, DACS 2022 Photo credit: University of Liverpool

Details

Classification:

Print, Collage, Portfolio

Materials:

Somerset Tub Sized 410 gsm paper, Wood, Fabric

Technique:

Woodblock, Batik

Dimensions:

84 x 62 (paper) cm

Accession Number:

FA.3686.3

Credit:

Presented by the Contemporary Art Society with support of the University of Liverpool, 2022/23

Ownership history:

Purchased from Cristea Roberts Gallery, London by the Contemporary Art Society with support of the University of Liverpool, June 2022; presented to Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool, 2022/23
Yinka Shonibare’s work reflects his British-Nigerian heritage exploring themes of (post)colonialism, race and class in a globalised world. Shonibare’s practice is interdisciplinary, using sculpture, painting, photography and film to tell the story around identity formation. Ankara fabric has become a signature of his work. Also known as Dutch wax-print, it was introduced to West and Central Africans by Dutch merchants during the 19th century, imitating the batik technique they encountered when colonising Indonesia.

Unstructured Icons is made of six woodblock prints, which are housed in a wooden portfolio box. In this series Shonibare responds to historical Western portraiture, overlaying them with fabric and stylised African ritual masks. King shows Henry VIII c.1537 and Queen I and Queen II show Elizabeth I c.1546 and c.1575 respectively. The original portrait of Henry VIII, which is part of the Walker Gallery’s collection in Liverpool, shows the King as taller, younger and healthier than he was at the time it was painted. If this portrait was commissioned to show his power, how does its message change when his face is obscured by an African mask and covered with Ankara patterns?

The Victoria Gallery & Museum (VG&M) is part of the University of Liverpool, which originated in the 1880s and is such inexorably bound up in colonial legacies. Both VG&M and the University are hoping to redress historical injustices through a focused effort on diversifying their collections. This includes being part of The World Reimagined Project, a national initiative to give a platform for learning about the Transatlantic Slave Trade, colonialism and Black achievement, for which Shonibare is one of the lead artists. Portraits make up a large portion of the VG&M collection, and these prints will offer a way to springboard discussion. They first went on display in October 2022 during Black History Month. 

All rights reserved. Any further use will need to be cleared with the rights holder. Permission granted to reproduce for personal and educational use only. Commercial copying, hiring, lending is prohibited.

Read our copyright policy for more information.

Artworks by Yinka Shonibare

Browse more relevant artworks.

You Might Also Like