The famed wind sculpture by British-born Nigerian artist, Yinka Shonibare MBE, was unveiled at the Kanu Ndubuisi Park in Ikeja – a central part of Lagos – on Thursday by the British Council in collaboration with GT Bank. Made from fiberglass and steel, the wind sculpture is a six-meter structure designed after the Dutch wax batik fabrics popularly known as Ankara. This has been the artist’s signature design for most of his sculptural installation including the wind sculpture series.

Speaking at the opening reception, Shonibare shared the joy of showing his work in the country of his childhood. “It is a great privilege to exhibit my sculpture here in Lagos. It is also the city I grew up between the age of three and seventeen. I am very happy to be here and in a public space where my work is accessible to all, not just the rich.” Further in his speech, he cited the need for more support in arts industry in Nigeria, the necessity for a museum where an artist can show their work, and the importance of using public spaces to make more people embrace art. Through his practice, he has shown art is profitable and can create employment opportunities in the art and tourism sector.

Further in his speech, he cited the need for more support in arts industry in Nigeria, the necessity for a museum where artists can show their work, and the importance of using public spaces to make more people embrace art. Through his practice, he has shown art is profitable and can create employment opportunities in the art and tourism sector.

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Yinka Shonibare, Image source: British Council Arts Nigeria

This installation by the British Council is an outline of a cultural exchange program aimed at attracting new interests and strengthening the relations between Britain and Nigeria. At the event, Deputy British High Commissioner, Simon Shercliff says “The exhibition is part of the UK-Nigeria art season which has been on for over a year now and is coming to a culmination. The art season is designed to create opportunities for people in the UK and Nigeria to mix and collaborate, and also get better (in their profession) as a result. The art (wind sculpture) displayed today is a great example of this.”

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Opening Reception of Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture in Lagos

Lending credence to what Simon Shercliff said, Louisa Waddingham, Director of Programme, British Council also said that the display of Wind Sculpture VI is at the heart of what British Council had planned for the UK-Nigeria art season.

Following activities for the reception include a students’ lecture, moderated by Mr. Oliver Enwonwu, Director, Omenka Gallery and a film screening, to be moderated by Ugoma Adegoke. After these events, the sculpture will remain at the park for three months.