Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Yinka Shonibare (British, b. 1962)

Alien Obsessives, Mum, Dad and the Kids, 1998

Wax printed cotton, plastic, and polyester fiberfill on plastic and metal armatures

Installed dimensions variable


Restricted gift of Donna and Howard Stone
1999.54

“I am beyond nationalism,” Yinka Shonibare has said, “I cannot think in those terms because … I see them as artificial boundaries.” Born in London and raised in Nigeria, Shonibare explores issues such as national identity, race, class, and authenticity with wit and irony. Here, his “alien” figures are dressed in brightly colored African cloth, often worn as a symbol of national identity. However, this African fabric is produced in Asia and Europe, then exported to Africa and other parts of the world. The “alien” family juxtaposed with the African cloth creates a contradiction whereby the notions of hybridity and identity are examined.