Colourful Batik Sails Are Set to the Darker History of Colonialism ; REVIEW [Edition 2]

By Luke, Ben | The Evening Standard (London, England), May 24, 2010 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Colourful Batik Sails Are Set to the Darker History of Colonialism ; REVIEW [Edition 2]


Luke, Ben, The Evening Standard (London, England)


WHEN Yinka Shonibare told the crowds at Trafalgar Square today that he had been waiting for this moment for a long time, I sense that he wasn't just talking about the three years that have passed since he first presented his idea for Nelson's Ship in a Bottle.

Trafalgar Square is the ideal platform for the ideas that Shonibare has been exploring since the early Nineties, and this feels like the work he has been leading up to for all those years. The square is our monument to the British Empire, with its statues to imperial heroes such as Henry Havelock, Charles James Napier and, of course, Horatio Nelson - and ideas of empire and colonialism have dominated Shonibare's work. His signature material, the colourful batik which forms the Victory's sails, was chosen precisely for its contradictory history. We associate it with African dress, but it actually originated in Indonesia and was industrialised in Holland, before being shipped to Africa.

The fabric Shonibare uses is fabricated in Manchester and bought in Brixton market.

Like all Shonibare's best work, it is playful and exuberant, but it's not entirely celebratory - in equipping the Victory with sails made of this ambiguous material, he asks us to reflect on the darker history of colonialism, its exploitation and its cruelties.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Colourful Batik Sails Are Set to the Darker History of Colonialism ; REVIEW [Edition 2]
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?