A self portrait of Yinka Shonibare

Deep Listen: Revisit Mothership

09 Aug 2020

Calling planet earth! Artist Yinka Shonibare CBE, acclaimed saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings, fashion designer Mowalola Ogunlesi, and Get Up, Stand Up Now curator Zak Ové explore themes around Black futures and afro-futurism.

Last summer we celebrated the past 50 years of Black creativity in the UK in our exhibition Get Up, Stand Up Now. For this week's Deep Listen we revisit Mothership, an episode from the podcast series produced to coincide with the exhibition.

Presented by spoken word artist Joshua Idehen.

Music by Shabaka Hutchings and GAIKA, excerpts from Sun Ra Arkestra BBC Radio 3 session courtesy of Somethin' Else and BBC Radio 3.

Yinka Shonibare CBE creates work that explores issues of race and class through painting, sculpture, photography and film. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. His trademark material is the brightly coloured ‘African’ batik fabric he buys at Brixton Market. The fabric was inspired by Indonesian design, mass-produced by the Dutch and eventually sold in British colonies in West Africa. In the 1960s, the material became a new sign of African identity and independence.

Shabaka Hutchings constantly evaluates his music’s relationship to Caribbean and jazz traditions, and sees his role as pushing the boundaries of both. His trajectory started early when he moved to Barbados at the age of six, began studying classical clarinet aged nine, and graduated to tenor saxophone, which has been a regular part of his performances since his return to the UK aged 16. Hutchings has three primary projects – Shabaka and the Ancestors, Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming. Between them, Hutchings has gathered a substantial number of awards and nominations, including winning the 2013 MOBO Jazz Act of the Year.

Mowalola Ogunlesi founded the menswear brand Mowalola in 2017 to celebrate the African male and culture, sexuality and desire. He was awarded Best New Designer at the 2018 Milan Fashion Film Festival. Mowalola had its London Fashion Week debut in January 2019 with Fashion East and their work has been featured in publications such as Vogue UK, Vogue US, i-D, Dazed & Confused, Surface Magazine, SHOWstudio and W Magazine.


Producer: Mae-Li Evans

The series was produced by Reduced Listening and Somerset House

Image: Yinka Shonibare, Self portrait (after Warhol) 6, 2013. Courtesy of Stephen Friedman Gallery.