AA Dialogues: Yinka Shonibare with Elsie Owusu

Wednesday, January 24, 2018 - 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Space for art: London and Lagos

Beyond the striking, colourful language of Shonibare’s work that explores the questions of identity at the end of the Empire, there is a profound sense of an urgency to give space to the emerging generation. On the ground floor of his London studio, Yinka has created an ‘alternative universe and playground’ for artists and in collaboration with AA Councillor Elsie Owusu, he is transporting the idea to Lagos, Nigeria and its unique social and urban context.

Yinka Shonibare MBE was born in 1962 in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to London to study Fine Art, first at Byam School of Art (now Central Saint Martins College) and then at Goldsmiths College, where he received his MFA. Shonibare’s work explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and film. Shonibare was a Turner prize nominee in 2004. His work ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’ was the 2010 Fourth Plinth Commission, and was displayed in Trafalgar Square until January 2012.

Elsie Owusu OBE is a principal of Elsie Owusu Architects. A Specialist Conservation Architect, her projects include the UK Supreme Court, London’s Green Park Station and transport projects in Ghana and Nigeria. Previously a board member of Arts Council England and the National Trust of England, Elsie is currently serving on the boards of the Architectural Association, the UK Supreme Court Arts Trust and the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Council. She is also Vice-Chair of the London School of Architecture.


Curated by Marko Milovanovic, AA Dialogues is about AA Members and alumni taking an active part in conversations. Come with questions, ideas and thoughts to explore how other ‘makers’ operate on the edges or outside of the architectural field to inform or challenge how we identify ourselves, work and think. Are we in fact becoming more and more collaborative and how do we handle a contemporary obsession to define who we are instead of what we do?

Image Credit: Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, 2010 © Yinka Shonibare MBE Courtesy the artist. Photography courtesy Stephen White.

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