Frame of Mind: Yinka Shonibare, MBE (RA)

Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) is one of my favorite artists at the moment. I first discovered him while attending Expo Chicago two years ago. I just recently learned that he has a show at the The Barnes that is being sponsored by Anthropologie. In anticipation of the 17-work exhibition titled Magic Ladders, Anthropologie created a wonderful video complete with an interview and a montage of Shonibare’s pieces.

The show opened January 25th and will run until April 21st. My good friend Shantrelle P. Lewis, curator and founder of Shantology, tried to cajole me into taking a road trip to Philly to check out the show. Driving from Chicago to the East coast in this vortex of a hellish weather is not something I feel safe doing at the moment.

As badly as I want to check out this exhibition, I’ll have to get on my knees and pray that it will travel and make its way to the Midwest. In the meantime, I constructed a design board inspired by Shonibare’s sculpture, Space Walk, which was created in 2002.

1) Sometimes people tend to overlook the room’s lighting when designing a room. The lighting fixture is one of the most important design elements because it can set the tone for the entire space. The shape of the Pastiche Orb Chandelier is a nice play on the astronaut’s helmets.

2) I am drawn to the shape of this Lisa Jarvis Bagua Table because it employs an excellent use of negative and positive space with the table’s base. Also, the black glass top has a glow that is also reminiscent of the astronaut’s helmets.

3) Since Anthropologie is one of the show’s sponsors, I definitely had to include one of their home d├ęcor pieces. The Anthro Chair adds a nice pop of color without being too bright. The style of the chair is very much from a colonial era with it’s eight-way hand-tied seat construction. A large focus of Shonibare’s work includes exploring colonial and post-colonial themes.

4) In addition to exploring those themes, Shonibare also “examines in particular the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories.” So I’ve added a trio of pillows: A Bold Hexagon Pillow and two African print pillows from JuneThirty.

5) Shonibare prints his fabrics and constructs clothing for his sculptures. Combining a wide range of colors and mixing patterns is an element that you will find in a lot of his work. This multi-colored, bold rug from Dash and Albert is a daring choice- and sometimes we have to go out on a limb with our design choices in order to stand out.

6) I absolutely love the juxtaposition between Space Walk‘s shiny helmets and the patterns and colors in the fabric. I felt that the patent leather chair from Modernica was a perfect addition to this room. Not only does the style of the chair match the period of the Anthro chair, but the vivid shine of the chair is a perfect reflection of the helmets.

7) We’ve got the ceiling squared away with our chandelier, but for some focus lighting, the Arteriors Verner Matte table lamp is spot on.

8) Lastly, I’m including this aptly named Worlds Away Molecule gold leaf iron coffee table. Aside from being out of this world, the shapes in this table’s base reminds me of a satellite (or space station).

That sums up my design board. What did you think of it? Will you be going to visit Shonibare’s exhibit? If so, then I must let you know that I’m so jealous happy for you! Yay boo!

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