Exhibition: Yinka Shonibare, Royal Museums Greenwich
A text message fund-raising campaign last year saw artist Yinka Shonibare's most famous work Nelson's Ship In A Bottle secured for the National Maritime Museum and take pride of place at the new King William Walk entrance.
Now the Hackney-based artist gets full run of the Greenwich royal museums in a new exhibition that includes a site-specific commission and sculptures never seen in this country before.
In the Queen's House, Shonibare continues his relationship with Nelson in displays across three rooms. Nelson's Jacket and Fanny's Dress, both shown in the UK for the first time, take the form of period costumes made in the artist's signature Dutch wax fabric.
The Fake Death Pictures series depicts five very different visions of Nelson's death at the battle of Trafalgar. Each photograph recreates a famous artistic death scene, referencing paintings by other artists but replacing their protagonists with the maritime hero.
The Queen's House lawn is dominated by Wind Sculpture, previously debuted at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. This large work echoes the billowing sails of a historical ship such as seen in the artist's Nelson's Ship In A Bottle.
At the Royal Observatory, a specially commissioned piece, Cheeky Little Astronomer, is displayed in the Astronomer Royal's apartments in Flamsteed House. The sculpture, which is the latest in the Shonibare's Planets In My Head series, reflects the dual nature of the rooms - as a family home and scientific hub.
Shonibare said: "Britain's maritime history has made a large contribution to the history of multi-culturalism in Britain. Indeed my own identity has been shaped by this history.
"Nelson's Ship in a Bottle and other works I will be presenting at Royal Museums Greenwich are a playful and provocative way of exploring multiculturalism in Britain today."
Curator Melanie Vandenbrouck said: "It is exciting to continue the conversation we started with Yinka Shonibare when we acquired Nelson's Ship in a Bottle.
"His spirited and thought-provoking work resonates in significant ways with this institution.
"It encourages us to look at our collections with fresh eyes, and ask different questions about our maritime and stargazing past."
Yinka Shonibare MBE At Greenwich is supported by a full programme of events including curator's tours, talks and debates.
Sept 18-Feb 23, Royal Museums Greenwich, some locations require paid tickets, rmg.co.uk for details
One of Yinka Shonibare's Fake Death Pictures, top, and Nelson's Jacket, above © Jason Mandella, Courtesy of James Cohan Gallery