Yinka Shonibare MBE: ‘The William Morris Family Album’

William Morris Gallery, London, United Kingdom
07 Feb 2015 - 07 Jun 2015

Yinka Shonibare MBE: ‘The William Morris Family Album’

Yinka Shonibare MBE, 'The William Morris Family Album', 2015 © Copyright the artist. Courtesy the artist, Stephen Friedman Gallery, London and The Church of England Record Centre. Commissioned by William Morris Gallery

The Gallery’s first major commission: a Morris-inspired photographic exhibition by Turner Prize nominee Yinka Shonibare MBE

The William Morris Family Album will see the British Nigerian artist work with Waltham Forest residents to recreate photographs of Morris’s family from the Gallery’s collection. Some of the sitters will wear Victorian costume, refashioned from African-inspired batik fabric created especially for the project. The work will encourage viewers to reflect on Morris’s political views by connecting his socialist ideals with the history of the British Empire.

Morris is a natural subject for Shonibare, whose interest in the Victorian Age, imperialism and the global textile trade has informed much of his work. Inspired by his visits to the Gallery, Shonibare worked with curators to explore Morris’s ideas and the wider social context of Waltham Forest.

Council leader Chris Robbins said: “Waltham Forest Council is thrilled to be collaborating with Yinka Shonibare MBE on the William Morris Gallery’s first major commission.

“The project represents another dimension for the Gallery, giving residents the opportunity to work with an internationally renowned contemporary artist. The resulting show will explore themes that are highly relevant to our local audience, while giving a new perspective on Morris’s political beliefs.”

Shonibare said: “In the spirit of William Morris’s ideal of an egalitarian society, a diverse group of local people have been invited to re stage three photographs from the William Morris Family album. The photographs are a celebration of costumes, textiles and diversity in the Morris world from a 21st century perspective.”

The William Morris Family Album is supported by Arts Council England, Cass Arts and The Mall Walthamstow.

The free exhibition at the gallery will be accompanied by an extensive education and events programme.



Q&A with Yinka Shonibare MBE
25 February 2015, 7pm 

Yinka Shonibare MBE discusses his love-hate relationship with the Victorian age and his collaboration with the William Morris Gallery with Zoe Whitley, Curator of International Art at Tate Modern.

Booking essential, £12. To book email wmg.bookings@walthamforest.gov.uk or telephone 020 8496 4390. Bookings can be made for up to 5 tickets per person.


William Morris Gallery
Lloyd Park, Forest Road
London E17 4PP United Kingdom