Cultural Life: Yinka Shonibare, artist

Interview,Miranda Kiek
Sunday 23 October 2011 00:20

Books: 'Flash of the Spirit' by Robert Farris Thompson is a book I am reading now. It's about African and African-American art and philosophy. I often express ideas in my work related to current affairs and on a weekly basis I tend to read 'The Economist' and the weekend 'Financial Times'. For 'Crash Willy, a piece on show in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, I was influenced by the credit crunch and drew from both non-fiction resources as well as fictional tales, such as 'Death of a Salesman'.

Music: Music on constant rotation in the studio is: Alicia Keys's "Empire State of Mind", Dizzee Rascal's "Dance wiv Me", anything by Gil Scott-Heron, Jay-Z, Hot Chip, M.I.A., Jill Scott or Fela Kuti (below), and I'm enjoying Nigerian singer Nneka's last album.

Visual Arts: Guest Projects is my Hackney studio-cum-gallery. The exhibition on now is Happy End and is curated by Yu-Chen Wang. The show continues to evolve every week through a series of installations and performances (until 11 July). There was an amazing performance by The Callas that was a cross between punk rock and Andy Warhol's Factory scene.

Television: My guilty pleasure used to be 'Desperate Housewives'. I was fascinated by it because it is a window into suburbia, a way of knowing and relating the most banal kind of existence. I was also touched by the resourcefulness of the people featured in the BBC's 'Welcome to Lagos'. They seemed to make a lot from the little that they had.

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Looking Up is at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco ( to 16 January 2011. He is also exhibiting as part of Nothing Is Forever at South London Gallery, London SE5 ( to 5 September

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