Exhibitions: African Innovations

Skipping Girl

This figure was initially created as part of a larger installation, Mother and Father Worked Hard So I Can Play, which suggested the unruly behaviors of a class of Victorian-era individuals made wealthy, perhaps, through the economic exploitation of Africa. Shonibare often makes use of Dutch wax fabric—a commodity associated with Africa but actually created in Europe, based upon Indonesian designs, and sold in West Africa in the nineteenth century—as a symbol of the web of economic and racial interrelationships between Africa, Asia, and Europe. Figures such as this reveal “authenticity” as an illusion and evoke the layers of historical connections between global cultures.