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Published: 04 November 2022

By Andy Ross

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Restitution of the Mind and Soul

Western art owes a great debt to Africa.

In this exhibition, Yinka Shonibare explores the relationship between Western art and the art of the continent. Beginning with Picasso who collected, studied and used African art in his work - see this page for articles about that relationship - Shonibare presents European classical statuary, draped in painted African print fabric designs and with masks that complement the figures' mythology replacing their heads. Each of the masks comes from an important artist's collection. Masks also feature in a series of pictures created from applique, embroidery and patchwork, and in hand-painted wooden masks, all of which you can see on the Goodman Gallery's website here

This reappropriation of African art and craft is important as the issues around colonisation and settlement unfold. By presenting the classical art of the western world in a different guise we are learning to redress and celebrate, and to understand our own attitudes to the continent. You can learn more about this particular show and the artist on the YouTube video below.