Date of Award

Spring 5-6-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art and Design

First Advisor

Maria Gindhart

Second Advisor

Susan Richmond

Third Advisor

Amira Jarmakani


Current scholarship on contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare MBE focuses on analyzing his deconstruction of identities through ready-made cultural paradigms epitomized by the use of Dutch wax textiles as an expression of “African-ness.” Through subversive tactics, Shonibare creates disoriented views of power that unveil the masquerade of identity. What is often unstated within this critique, however, is the role of the feminine performance. From the swinging maiden to the ballerina sur les pointes, women and femininity maintain an indelible role in Shonibare’s production. Thus, by evaluating gender with greater precision, I will highlight Shonibare’s dependency on stereotypes of femininity and the female body for cultural intelligibility.