Butterfly Kid (boy) II 2015
Yinka Shonibare MBE (1962 – )
- 134 x 66 x 86 cm
- Fibreglass mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton textile, silk, metal, globe, leather and steel baseplate
- Accession number
Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)’s Butterfly Kid (boy) II is part of a new and compelling series for the artist. With great technical artistry and visual ingenuity, Shonibare depicts an anonymous winged figure, theatrically balancing on one leg and with his arms outstretched as if about to take flight. Whilst playful and celebratory in tone, this work also speaks of the artist’s wider social and artistic preoccupations.
Butterfly Kid (boy) II is in part inspired by global warming and its effects on nature’s flora and fauna. Despite the serious undertone, the works overarching message is a positive one. There is something strikingly uplifting about the skyward pose of the figure and the marked effect of the butterfly wings, which symbolise growth, beauty and continued pollination.
The figure is shown with a celestial globe for a head and clad in a vivid suit of Dutch wax batik fabric, both of which have become hallmarks of Shonibare’s practice due to their rich symbolic and historical associations. This work examines notions of origin, authenticity and how our complex histories resonate with contemporary issues and are likely to inform the future.
This work is part of a series of three.