SOAS University of London

Centre of African Studies

Artist talk series: Yinka Shonibare in Conversation with Gus Casely-Hayford

Yinka Shinobare
Yinka Shonibare, CBE and Dr Gus Casely-Hayford (Director, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art)

Date: 25 January 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 25 January 2021Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Webinar

About this Event

Yinka Shonibare, CBE, and Dr. Gus Casely-Hayford, Director of V&A East, will discuss Shonibare’s career path as an artist and current projects—both in the UK and internationally.

This event will be an opportunity for Shonibare to discuss the development of his artist residency programme, Guest Artists Space (G.A.S.) Foundation, in Lagos, Nigeria, due to open in late 2021.

This is the second in a series of talks hosted in partnership between the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art and SOAS School of Art, and organised by the SOAS Centre of African studies.

About the Panellists

Yinka Shonibare CBE (b. London, UK, 1962 -) studied Fine Art at Byam Shaw School of Art (1989) and received his MFA from Goldsmiths College, London, (1991). His interdisciplinary practice uses citations of Western art history and literature to question the validity of contemporary cultural and national identities within the context of globalization. Through examining race, class and the construction of cultural identity, his works comment on the tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.

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 was awarded the honour of ‘Commander of the Order of the British Empire’ in the 2019 New Year’s Honours List. His installation ‘The British Library’ was acquired by Tate in 2019 and is currently on display at Tate Modern, London.

His work is included in notable museum collections including Tate, London; the National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Guggenheim Abu Dhabi; Moderna Museet, Stockholm and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

Dr Gus Casely-Hayford OBE is an art historian who writes, lectures and broadcasts widely on African culture. He is best known for his major BBC TV series The Lost Kingdoms of Africa, using new archaeological and anthropological research to explore the pre-colonial history of some of Africa’s most important kingdoms. Former Executive Director of Arts Strategy, Arts Council England, and Ex-Director of the Institute of International Visual Art, he has advised the United Nations and the Canadian, Dutch and Norwegian Arts Councils and the Tate Gallery. He initiated and became the Director of Africa 05, the largest African arts season ever hosted in Britain, when over 150 venues collaborated to host more than 1000 events.

Recently, he has co-written and edited the book West Africa: word, symbol and song, and has published many articles including in the popular press. He is a SOAS research associate and recently chaired the development and delivery team on the British Library’s biggest ever exhibition to focus upon African intellectual tradition, Africa: word, symbol song, whilst advising Tate Britain on a major exhibition, Artist and Empire. He is currently expending the majority of his energies in the development of a National Portrait Gallery exhibition that will tell the story of abolition of slavery through 18th and 19th century portraits.

He is the former Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., and currently the Director of the V&A East, London

Chair: Dr Polly Savage (SOAS School of Arts)


This event is open to the public, however registration is required. Online Registration

Organiser: SOAS School of Arts, SOAS Centre of African Studies and Smithsonian National Museum of African Art