The Hibiscus and the Rose

Yinka Shonibare (1962 - )

woodcut print and fabric collage on paper


Share this:

© Yinka Shonibare CBE - Commissioned by the Government Art Collection for The Robson Orr TenTen Award 2020, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission

License this image

  • About the work
    Hibiscus and the Rose is an expression of cultural exchange between Britain and the rest of the world. Yinka Shonibare CBE explains:
    The hibiscus is a genus of numerous species of herbs, shrubs, and trees in the mallow family (Malvaceae) widely found in many of the warmer temperate Commonwealth countries. The rose is the national flower of England and has a long tradition within English symbolism. An exploration of Britain's colonial past and its current relationship with its former colonies is symbolised through the 'Hibiscus and the Rose’.
    The interplay of race, place, history, politics and class in the construction of cultural identity is at the core of Shonibare’s diverse practice. Coming to prominence in the late 1990s and early 2000s, his headless figures festooned in 17th-century clothing made from Dutch wax Indonesian batik fabrics synonymous with African design, were shown globally leading to a Turner Prize nomination in 2004, and a prominent installation in Documenta XI in 2008. His first public art commission, Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, London in 2010, a maquette of which is in the Government Art Collection, with his now hallmark use of Dutch wax fabrics acting as sails. The cultural entanglement of this textile through industry and design is at the crux of Shonibare’s work that critiques a mono-cultural narrative, and exposes complex global relationships, particularly between Africa and Europe.
    This woodcut print, that also boasts a rich pattern using the Dutch wax designs, eloquently celebrates a childhood growing up in Lagos and London, and speaks of global relationships. As a child in Nigeria, Shonibare would pick the nectar from the hibiscus flower to eat, whilst the rose evokes his British identity.
  • About the artist
    Yinka Shonibare CBE was born 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 and then at Goldsmiths College, where he received his MFA. Shonibare was a Turner Prize nominee in 2004, and was also awarded the decoration of Member of the ‘Most Excellent Order of the British Empire’ or MBE, a title he has added to his professional name. Shonibare was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor at Documenta XI, Kassel, in 2002 to create his most recognised work 'Gallantry and Criminal Conversation' that launched him on to an international stage. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennale and internationally at leading museums. In September 2008, his major mid-career survey commenced at the MCA Sydney and then toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC. He was elected as a Royal Academician by the Royal Academy, London in 2013. In January 2019, Yinka Shonibare was awarded the decoration of CBE.
  • Explore
  • Details
    The Hibiscus and the Rose
    Series Title
    Number 16 in an edition of 32 plus 6 artist's proofs
    woodcut print and fabric collage on paper
    height: 79.5 cm; width: 97.5 cm
    Commissioned by the Government Art Collection for The Robson Orr TenTen Award 2020, a GAC/Outset Annual Commission
    recto: '16/32', bottom left; inscribed by the artist 'Yinka Shonibare 2020', bottom right
    GAC number