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Yinka Shonibare CBE RA: End of Empire

Thursday, November 16

Exhibition runs from 12 October 2023-23 June 2024
Closed for Christmas/New Year on 23, 24, 25, 26 and 31 December and 1 January

Opening hours are 10am-5pm Tuesday-Sunday
Free entry

See a striking large-scale sculpture that comments on the balance of power at the outset of the First World War, making a visual connection between the conflicts of the West, globalisation and empire.

Commissioned by 14-18 NOW, ‘End of Empire’ features two dapper figures with globe heads on a steam-punk seesaw. The globes represent the two ‘sides’ in the First World War: the British-French allies versus the Austro-Hungarians and Germans. The War witnessed the disappearance of four once-powerful realms (German, Habsburg, Ottoman and Russian), and the seesaw swings slowly, constantly rebalancing – a symbol of the move towards this ‘end of empire’.

The figures wear brightly coloured suits made of ‘Dutch wax’ textiles: fabric that tells a story about colonial history with designs that indicate the African lands formerly colonised by Europeans.

Yinka Shonibare’s ‘End of Empire’ sculpture is sure to get you thinking.

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