British-Nigerian sculptor Yinka Shonebare addresses global and social issues with colorfully playful sculptures. Each figure features the body of a human with the head of either an animal, an inanimate object, or no head at all. Whether there is a head or not though, these mannequins are most likely having a good time in their vibrant, multi-patterned outfits made of Dutch wax printed cotton textiles.
In his Champagne Kid series, the London-based sculptor's figures can be seen having a good time with a bottle of bubbly. Like a drunk crowd of gallivanting teens, they seem to be popping open bottles with disregard, hanging off the walls, and leaning a little too far back in their chairs. When taking a look closer, it seems their spherical heads are adorned with the words “STOCK EXCHANGE,” suggesting that these are the careless jubilant embodiments of wealthy corporate powers.
In another series called Revolution Kid, Shonebare depicts equally loudly dressed figures with animal heads toting golden guns. One such sculpture features the head of a smirking fox holding said firearm in one hand and a Blackberry in the other. While Shonibare's figures are left open to interpretation, one could infer that the cell phone and 24 carat gold gilded gun implies a presence of materialism and addiction to technology and the animal head suggests a wildness—all indicating stereotypical characteristics of youth. It is a surreal and playful portrayal of the youth generation looking to make a change, but perhaps not being taken seriously.
Top photo via ddk
Yinka Shonibare: Website