Yinka Shonibare (British-Nigerian, b. 1962)
Fiberglass, Dutch wax cloth
165.1 x 63.5 x 106.7cm and 165.1 x 73.7 x 109.2cm
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, 99.512.A-B
Yinka Shonibare was born in London, but spent most of his childhood in Lagos, Nigeria. Shonibare uses a variety of media to examine the intersections of race and class within the contexts of colonialism and postcolonialism. His works often mingle African and Western art forms to challenge popular conceptions of identity formation. Gay Victorians consists of two life-sized fiberglass mannequins dressed in Dutch wax cloth. Dutch wax cloth originated in Europe, but is now closely associated with African cultural forms on both the African continent and throughout areas of the African diaspora. Shonibare’s piece thus examines the cultural hybridity that results from colonialism.