Partner Highlights: Yinka Shonibare at Historic Royal Palaces

The Public Programme

‘Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta and the Shaping of the Modern World’, presented by Historic Royal Palaces and the Yale Center for British Art, featured a new work by Yinka Shonibare MBE, RA.

The exhibition explored the instrumental roles of the Hanoverian princesses Caroline of Ansbach (1683–1737), Augusta of Saxe-Gotha (1719–1772), and Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1744–1818)—all of whom married into the British royal family—and how they shaped the nation’s society and culture during a time of significant political and social transformation.

Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina (2017) was inspired by a meeting in 1753, between Princess Augusta and Mrs Eliza Lucas Pinckney, the owner of a slave plantation in South Carolina, which was then a British colony.

The work is a manifestation of Shonibare’s signature use of headless mannequins and traditional African batik fabric. The textile was adopted as a medium by the artist after discovering that the best African batik dyed cloths are not straightforwardly African as is often thought but have a cross-cultural background all of their own. The fabrics are actually manufactured in the Netherlands and exported to Africa and the designs of the ‘Dutch wax prints’, as they are known, were originally inspired by Javanese batiks.

22nd June- 12 November 2017

Kensington Palace
Kensington Gardens
W8 4PX

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Yinka Shonibare was in conversation with Glenn Adamson (Museum of Arts and Design in New York and London’s Victoria & Albert Museum) discussing the new work and his exploration of race, class and the meaning of cultural and national definitions in the King’s State Apartments at Kensington Palace, September 4.

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Image courtesy of Historic Royal Palaces: Yinka Shonibare MBE, RA, 'Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina' 2017, fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax-printed cotton textile, birdcage, birds, leather, and globe, Yale Center for British Art, Acquired with funds from the Bequest of Daniel S. Kalk, the Director's Discretionary Fund, and the Friends of British Art Fund.