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The Yinka Shonibare room fourth art classroom at SSE

Large-scale patterns on the walls and books wrapped in batik fabrics; the newly finished Yinka Shonibare Room is a pedagogical environment that not only provides state-of-the art light, sound, ergonomics and acoustics, it is a room that seeks to evoke emotion and elicit reflection over topics such as globalization, colonialism, world trade and the construction of cultural identity.

Over the summer, world-famous British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE and his studio have been hard at work, designing one of the classrooms in the main building at the Stockholm School of Economics. The classroom contains a mural with colorful elements, reminiscent of what we often consider to be African wax prints, and a small library of books, beautifully wrapped in fabric. The library is a Stockholm School of Economics version of Shonibare’s great installation “The British Library” at Tate Modern in London. The collaboration with the artist was made possible thanks to the The Princess Estelle Cultural Foundation.

"Designed for learning"

”Stockholm School of Economics is a place for science and learning facts. But it is also a place for reflection, for cultural literacy and creativity,” says SSE Presiden Lars Strannegård. “The new classroom is an excellent pedagogical environment. It is designed for learning, and it sheds light on subjects and issues that are central to a social scientific academic institution such as SSE. The new room activates our senses and thereby the potential for multi-facetted learning. I am extremely grateful to the artist, the Princess Estelle Cultural Foundation and our generous donors for materializing this project.”

Yinka Shonibare CBE is one of the world’s most prominent contemporary artists. (CBE is a title that Shonibare added to his name two years ago, when he was appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.) He was born in London in 1962, grew up in his family’s native Nigeria, then returned to the UK to study art. During his long and successful career he has been exploring national identities within the context of globalisation. Through examining postcolonialism, class and the construction of cultural identity, his works comment on the relationship between Africa and Europe, and their respective economic and political histories.

Yinka Shonibare CBE works in different techniques; painting, photography, performance, film and sculpture. His signature material is the colorful batik fabric, also known as Ankara print fabric, that is considered genuinely African despite having a completely different origin. The fabrics are in fact inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch in the 19th century, who sold them to European colonies in West Africa. There, the textiles became very popular, which ironically led to them becoming a symbol for Africa.

Fourth art classroom at SSE

The Yinka Shonibare Room is the fourth art classroom to open at SSE. The other three are: The Cabinet Room, The Jacob Dahlgren Room and The Lindgren Room. The Yinka Shonibare room was made possible thanks a generous donation by Ola Källenius, Joakim Weidemanis, Thomas Ranje and Steffen Karlsson.


For more info: Tinni Ernsjöö Rappe, 0708-36 66 41, tinni.rappe@hhs.se

SSE Art Initiative Art News