LONDON.- A striking new work by Fourth Plinth artist Yinka Shonibare was unveiled today as part of the campaign supported by over 100 leading British artists against the governments proposed funding cuts of the arts.
The artists work shows a slash across a piece of brightly coloured African fabric with the caption: Stop Cutting.
Yinka Shonibare MBE has become well known for work that explores issues of race and class through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and, most recently, film. He often uses African fabrics to explore issues about identity and culture in contemporary society. He was a Turner prize nominee in 2004 and he was awarded an MBE, a title that he has added to his professional name. His commission for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, Nelson's Ship in a Bottle, was installed in May this year and in June a major new public art work covering the gable end of a thirteen-storey tower block, commissioned by the South London Gallery to celebrate their expansion, was unveiled in Camberwell.
Each week the work of a different artist, created in response to the campaign, will be released. The campaign was launched 10 September with a new video by David Shrigley and a campaign poster by Jeremy Deller, Scott King and William Morris. This was followed by a new work by Mark Wallinger.
Supporters of the artists campaign are being asked to sign a petition which will be sent to the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. It points out that it has taken 50 years to create a vibrant arts culture in Britain that is the envy of the world and appeals to the government not to slash arts funding and risk destroying this long-term achievement and the social and economic benefits it brings to all.
The artists acknowledge that reasonable cuts and efficiencies are necessary but they fear that the 25% cuts being proposed will destroy much of what has been achieved and will have a particularly damaging impact on national and regional museums and their collections.
The campaign is being organised by the London branch of a national consortium of over 2,000 arts organisations and artists dedicated to working together and finding new ways to support the arts in the UK.