Hayward Gallery ; The Human Factor

The Human Factor: The Figure in Contemporary Sculpture brings together major works by 25 leading international artists who have fashioned new ways of using the human form.

Although there were many interesting pieces, one particular sculpture by the artist Yinka Shonibare;; drew my attention. Once I saw this piece from the front, I thought it’s interesting looking with her missing head but this piece became even more interesting as I found out an old fashioned gun that she was hiding behind of her fancy, colourful dress. The fact that she is a little girl who never seems to have things to do with violence sort of distracts audiences from expecting anything negative. I was quite impressed by the way that the artist chose to present her work. It was neither always sad or bright. It was a black comedy, unexpected darkness.


“Girl Ballerina,” 2007
Life-size mannequin, Dutch wax printed cotton, and gun, 47 1/5 x 19 7/10 x 23 3/5 inches
Collection of John and Amy Phelan
© Yinka Shonibare MBE
Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London
“It’s not just about using form to illustrate something. It’s about the meaning also being held in the form that illustrates something. Beauty is part of the form, but beauty is also emotional. So it’s actually form and content. And those two things work together or express each other.”

-Yinka Shonibare MBE

I have been always interested in dark bit of the society, in fact, of everything. But I don’t want to talk about darkness in “an obviously depressing way” in my work because I believe that darkness also has got a bright side and the majority of people don’t realise it does. If they find out the positive energy of bitter reality, it they can possibly accept the truth as it is, and appreciate even ugly part of everything, wouldn’t they, we be happier and grateful?

I feel a shamed about sadness, unhappiness which are less valued than positive feelings like; happiness and pleasure and want to let people to know it’s also valuable and encourage them to take it as it is, rather than avoiding.

The piece enabled me to think about the meaning of negativeness and certain method to present, bring up negative subjects on the table. Satire and Humor! What a peaceful and joyful way of talking about negativeness!