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Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders
at the Barnes Foundation

Groundbreaking new exhibition examining history, race, slavery and commerce

Barnes Foundation

Scramble for Africa, 2003. 14 life-size mannequins, 14 chairs, table, and Dutch wax-printed cotton. Credit: ames Cohan Gallery, New York/Shanghai and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London.


January 25-April 21, 2014


The Barnes Foundation is beginning 2014 with the groundbreaking work of international artist Yinka Shonibare MBE. The exhibition, Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders, explores the themes of history, race, slavery and commerce using approximately 15 sculptures, paintings, photographs and a room installation.

Shonibare—who’s work has been exhibited through the United States and Europe, uses life-sized mannequins clothed in the colorful Dutch wax fabrics produced in Europe, but most closely associated with Africa, to offer a provocative examination of European colonialism and European and African identities.

The eye-catching works fit within the practices of Dr. Albert Barnes, who held an interest in collecting and displaying work made by African artists. By placing these works alongside paintings by Pablo Picasso and other well-known art masters, The Barnes Foundation became one of the first institutions to present African art work as fine art, and acknowledge its influence on the global art scene.

Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders is Shonidbare’s first major exhibition in Philadelphia since his residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in 2004.

Hours and Admission

Admission to Yinka Shonibare MBE: Magic Ladders is included with your ticket to The Barnes Foundation.

The Barnes Foundation is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday, Sunday), with hours extended until 9 p.m. on Fridays. The Barnes Foundation is closed on Tuesdays.

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