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Title

Rights: Aliens

Author

Walker Art Center

Date

2003

Institution Walker Art Center
"The alien is the colonial figure par excellence. Remember The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells? It was about the fear of aliens taking over the world. In the United States for a long time, the fear of communism prevailed. There is a lot of talk about "bogus" asylum seekers in Britain now. The alien work is an attempt to explore racial prejudice in a humorous way, using an image of popular American cinema."
--Yinka Shonibare, 2001

Shonibare uses his art to playfully poke holes in the idea of national identity. Using figures that bring to mind space aliens as they often appear in the movies, the artist sets up a play on the idea of being an "alien" that, in the context of immigration and cultural identity, has an entirely different tone. Further, employing such fantastic and humorous figures to deal with heavy issues like racism and prejudice is one way Shonibare communicates the often cartoon-like way people represent cultures other than their own.

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Type: Commentary, online content
Source: Rights: Aliens, from the website Global Positioning: Exploring Contemporary World Art, 2003.
Rights: Copyright 2003 Walker Art Center
Added to Site: March 1, 2009