Just in time for spring, a whimsical sculpture has found its way onto the Doris C. Freedman Plaza. Commissioned for the plaza’s southeast entrance to Central Park, Wind Sculpture (SG) I by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE debuted yesterday with much fanfare.
The 23-foot-tall piece, which has the appearance of an untethered sail in the breeze, was created from fiberglass, and features an intricate, hand-painted pattern. Swaths of turquoise, red and orange — colors that reflect back to the artist’s childhood on the beaches of Lagos — decorate the surface of the sculpture. According to a press release, the technique is inspired by Dutch wax batik print fabric, which Shonibare refers to as “perfect metaphor for multilayered identities” since it’s commonly associated with the European colonization of West Africa in the 1800s. Today, the fabric is still manufactured in the Netherlands, and worn throughout West Africa.
Artist British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE
Wind Sculpture (SG) I, the first work in a second generation of Wind Sculpture series, continues Shonibare’s examination of cultural identity through the lens of colonialism. Shonibare, in referring to himself, uses the term “a post-colonial hybrid.” His work, as such, combines a mash of patterns, techniques and forms to shed light on subjects like race and identity. In the case of his newest installation, the sail-like form of sculpture is a testament to colonial history, when ships were the only means of traveling the seas to foster the exchange ideas and culture.
“Monumental in scale and imposingly sited on axis with the entrance to Central Park, Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture (SG) I assumes the aspect of a classical civic monument. However, its lithe and undulating form and its vibrant, colorful surface suggest a very different approach,” says Public Art Fund Director & Chief Curator Nicholas Baume. “This is one of his most abstract works, yet it still tells a story. Its patterned, fluttering sail suggests the geographical, cultural, and personal layers of a migration borne aloft on the cross currents of colonial history.”
Since 1977, the Doris C. Freedman Plaza has been home to over 60 projects, courtesy of the Public Art Fund. Yinka Shonibare MBE: Wind Sculpture (SG) I will be on view through to October 14 at the Doris C. Freedman Plaza, Central Park. See more photos of the new installation below:
Next, check out 14 Art Installations & Exhibits Not to Miss in NYC in March 2018 and keep updated on more art in New York City.