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Material Meaning - Wasafiri

Article relating to a publication, 2010
Published by: Wasafiri
Year published: 2010
Number of pages: 9

image of Material Meaning - Wasafiri

Jessica Hemmings, Material Meaning, Wasafiri, Vol. 25, No. 3 September 2010, pp. 38-46.

Perhaps the most successful text that sought to place Yinka Shonibare’s work into the context and company of other artists (all of whom were born in African countries and used textiles – or what could be interpreted as textiles - within their practice) was Material Meaning. Written by Jessica Hemmings and published in an issue of Wasafiri, Material Meaning discussed the work of Shonibare, Nicholas Hlobo, Owusu-Ankomah, Nnenna Okore, and El Anatsui, in considered and convincing tones. Hemmings noted, “The artists all have ties with the vast region of sub-Saharan Africa, to cultures with extensive and discrete textile traditions”

Hemmings went on, “Yinka Shonibare has made the complex history of batik cloth the hallmark of his practice and he is one example of an artist whose use of textiles deserves consideration. But this example is far from isolated: Nicholas Hlobo often makes use of rubber and leather, incorporating stitches with ribbon into two and three-dimensional work; Owusu-Ankomah paints the human form camoflaged by the adinkra symbols of printed textiles; Nnenna Okore’s installations using paper and thread are marked by a distinct ‘textile sensibility’; El Anatusi’s (sic) sculptures made from recycled metal bottle caps suggest giant pieces of strip-woven cloth. The textile may not be the central motivation of these artists’ practices, but consideration of the messages the textile conveys is crucial to a fuller appreciation of the content of their work.”

Shonibare’s work appeared on the cover of the issue (Girl on Flying Machine, 2008), and images of his Woman on Flying Machine, 2008 and Man on Flying Machine, 2008, were reproduced in the text itself. Further to these images of Shonibare’s work,  the article was extensively illustrated by work by all of the other artists, with the exception of El Anatsui.

Images as follows:

Nicholas Hlobo, Ingubo Yesizwe, 2008; Owusu-Ankomah, Afrika Charms, 2008, On my Knees, 2008; Nnenna Okore, Putting Together Things That Fell Apart, 2009.


Related people + view all 6

»  El Anatsui

Born, 1944 in Anyako, Ghana

»  Nicholas Hlobo

Born, 1975 in Johannesburg, South Africa

»  Nnenna Okore

Born, 1975 in Nigeria

»  Owusu-Ankomah

Born, 1956 in Ghana