Yinka Shonibare's Wind Sculpture Commission

Commissioned by joint developers Doughty Hanson and Co Real Estate, and Terrace Hill, working with art consultants HS Projects, it forms part of the redevelopment of 1-5 Howick Place, near Victoria in London SW1. The site-specific sculpture was given the final go ahead by Westminster Council in February.

Wind Sculpture, 2014 develops Shonibare’s interests in colonialism, trade and race. It is part of a series of wind sculptures, inspired by the idea of harnessing wind, reminiscent of a sail, a flag or a waving handkerchief. 

The fibreglass resin form is painted by hand with a design based on symbolic batik fabric, synonymous with African and Javanese cultures. The batik design echoes Shonibare’s imaginative treatment of the sails on Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle, his Fourth Plinth commission for Trafalgar Square which has now been installed outside the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

Shonibare’s work has a particular resonance in Howick Place, which is named after Charles Grey, Viscount Howick before becoming Earl Grey in 1807, who as a Whig reforming Prime Minister was involved in the abolition of slavery from the British Empire.

Main image: Yinka Shonibare, Wind Sculpture (detail), 2014, hand-painted fibreglass resin, Howick Place, London SW1 (photo: courtesy The Communications Group)

Aurora Corio