Artist Profiles

Yinka Shonibare MBE
b. 1962, London, Great Britain

Yinka Shonibare MBE RA was born in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to London to study Fine Art first at Byam Shaw College of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) and then at Goldsmiths College, where he received his MFA, graduating as part of the ‘Young British Artists’ generation. He currently lives and works in the East End of London.

Over the past decade, Shonibare has become well known for his exploration of colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. Shonibare’s work explores these issues, alongside those of race and class, through the media of painting, sculpture, photography and, more recently, film and performance. Using this wide range of media, Shonibare examines in particular the construction of identity and tangled interrelationship between Africa and Europe and their respective economic and political histories. Mixing Western art history and literature, he asks what constitutes our collective contemporary identity today. Having described himself as a ‘post-colonial’ hybrid, Shonibare questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions.


Shonibare was a Turner prize nominee in 2004 and awarded the decoration of Member of the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”. He has added this title to his professional name. In 2013 he was elected Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts. He was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor at Documenta 10 in 2002 to create his most recognised work Gallantry and Criminal Conversationthat launched him on an international stage. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial and internationally at leading museums worldwide. In September 2008, his major mid-career survey commenced at the MCA Sydney and toured to the Brooklyn Museum, New York in June 2009 and the Museum of African Art at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC in October 2009 . In 2010, Nelson's Ship in a Bottlebecame his first public art commission on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square.


African Art Award, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. (2016)

Annual Visionaries! Awards, Museum of Art and Design, New York (2016)

Citibank Private Bank Photography Prize Photographers Gallery, London (1999)

Participation in International Arts Events

49th and 52ndVenice Biennale International Art Exhibition, Venice (2001, 2007)

Documenta11, Kassel (2002)

Partage d’exotismes5th Biennale of Contemporary Art, Lyon (2000)

Jurassic Technology, 10th Biennale of Sydney, Sydney (1996)

Major Exhibitions and Commissions

The British Library, Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Brighton (2014)

Globe Head Ballerina, Royal Opera House London (2012)

Nelson’s Ship in a Battle, Trafalgar Square, London (2010)

Tomás Sacareno
b. 1973, Tucumán, Argentina

Saraceno has held residencies at the Atelier Calder in France and participated in the NASA International Space Studies Program. An artist trained as an architect, Saraceno deploys theoretical frameworks and insights from engineering, physics, chemistry, aeronautics and materials science. His residency at MIT focuses on advancing new work for the ongoing Cloud Cities series. On Space Time Foam, a project created for HangarBicocca in Milan, Italy, is a multi-layered habitat of membranes suspended 24 meters above the ground that is inspired by cosmology and life sciences. Each level has a different climate and air pressure and will react to the movement of visitors through it. In a later iteration, the work will become a floating biosphere above the Maldives Islands that is made habitable with solar panels and desalinated water.


Cloud City was installed on the roof of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and recently exhibited at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, the Walker Art Center and the 2009 Venice Biennale. For the exhibition at Hamburger Bahnhof, around twenty of Saraceno’s biosphere works are presented together for the first time, revealing a variety of forms of artistic expression throughout the artist’s previous works. Along with viewer-accessible environments such as Observatory, Air-Port-City (2008), visitors can experience sculptural modules including Biosphere 05 and Biosphere 06, which resemble flying gardens, as well as Large Iridescent Planet (2009), an object covered in iridescent foil. Saraceno’s works enthusiastically pursue the notion of an "realisable utopia." In this respect, the experimental approach of Air-Port-City, which the artist has continually developed over a period of several years, is exemplary. The concept is inspired by the eponymous Airport City in Frankfurt, where the artist lives and works. In this work, Saraceno proposes cell-like flying cities as possible architectonic living spaces in direct reference to Buckminster Fuller’s Cloud Nine (circa 1960). The fantastic architectural utopia Cloud Nine consists of a freely floating sphere measuring one mile in diameter that offers living space to several autonomous communities encompassing thousands of inhabitants each.


1822-Kunstpreis, Frankfurt (2010)

Alexander Calder Prize, New York (2009)

Fondo Nacional de las Artes/ IUAV Venice (2003-04)

Participation in International Arts Events

14th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon (2017-18)

Chicago Architecture Biennial, Chicago (2015)

53rd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition (2009)

Major Exhibitions and Commissions

163,000 Light Years, MARCO, Museum for Contemporary Art Monterrey (2016) 

Arachnid Orchestra, Jam Session, NTU Centre for Contemporary ArtSingapore (2015) 

The Roof Garden Commission,  Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012)

Zulkifle Mahmod
b. 1975, Singapore

Zul Mahmod (b. 1975, Singapore) is at the forefront of a generation of sound-media artists in Singapore’s contemporary art development. Zul is one of the participants for the 52nd Venice Biennale in Italy for the Singapore Pavillion in 2007 along with three other artists. Zul’s practice signals an encompassing and expanded visual arts sensory experience.

Adopting a multi-disciplinary/multi-genre approach, that also includes drawings, prints and sculptures, Zul has exhibited in Singapore, Thailand, Germany, Japan, Vietnam, Moscow, China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Norway and Finland. His notable initiatives include an industrial-sound inspired soundtrack in conjunction with an Antoni Tapies exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum and the first 24hr sound art festival, Una Voce, 2005’ at The Substation.

Formally trained in sculpture, Zul Mahmod has continued to build and expand his practice over the last three years to include sculpted sound and live sound performances. Zul’s practice investigates the aural architecture of spaces in order to explore the emotional, behavioural and visceral responses of its inhabitants. While in residence, Zul will explore the aural relationship between readymade sound sculptures and the architecture of space. Sonic characteristics, forms and textures of everyday objects will be examined in order to compose an orchestra of sonic sculptures.


Soichiro Fukutake Prize (2017)

Best Sound Design for RPM by Ka Fai/ Theatreworks Straits Times Life! Theatre Award (2010)

Trophy Design for Singtel Singapore Night Race Grand Prix Singapore (2008)

Participation in International Arts Events

An Atlas of MirrorsSingapore Biennale,Singapore (2016)

Singapore Pavilion - 52nd Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, Venice (2007)

Ogaki Biennale, Ogaki (2006)

Major Exhibitions and Commissions

I Light Marina Bay, Singapore (2012, 2016)

WE=ME ASEAN Contemporary Art ExhibitionBangkok Art Centre, Bangkok (2013)

THE VANISHING RACE: APACHE ON A RAMPAGE. Mental Migration Lonnstrom Art Museum, Rauma (2004)

Dan Graham
b.1942, Urbana, Illinois, USA
Lives and works in New York

Since the 1960s, Dan Graham has been investigating the relationship between architectural environments and those who inhabit them. His diverse practice, which encompasses writing, photography, video, performance, and the creation of sculptural environments, has influenced generations of artists. Graham’s glass pavilions have been realized in sites worldwide, particularly in Europe. 


Graham has had retrospective exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Walker Art Centre (2009–10); Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin (2006); Museu Serralves, Porto (2001); Museum of Modern Art, Oxford (1997); Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven (1993); Kunsthalle Berne (1983); and the Renaissance Society, University of Chicago (1981). He has participated in Documenta 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 (1972, 1977, 1982, 1992, and 1997). Among the numerous awards he has received are the Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award, Zurich (1992), and the French Vermeil Medal, Paris (2001). He also was honoured by the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, in 2010.


The Roof Garden Commission: Dan Graham with Günther Vogt at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Roof Garden is the artist’s first major site-specific commission in New York City since his 1991 installation, Dan Graham: Rooftop Urban Park Project at Dia Center for the Arts. “Graham’s pavilions invite romance or play, but their forms and materials have a more contemporary source: the gleaming glass facades of modern office towers. For the artist, the mirrored cladding of a corporate headquarters symbolizes economic power and sleek efficiency; it also provides a certain camouflage, reflecting the world around it as it shields what happens inside from prying eyes.

“With this signature material, Graham’s pavilions also transform observers of the work into performers within it, and, through the sight of their own reflections, make them acutely aware of their own viewership.  

“The artist’s pavilions likewise respond to their specific sites. The Museum’s Roof Garden, where the idyllic expanse of Central Park confronts the tall buildings of midtown Manhattan, is both of the city and at a certain remove from it. The evergreen plantings that edge the parapets also reminded Graham of the shrubbery that often demarcates private property lines in the New Jersey suburbs of his youth. Graham’s collaboration with [landscape architect] Günther Vogt further illuminates the site’s multi-layered references—historic gardens, public parks, contemporary corporate architecture, and the suburban lawn—as its pavilion engages the viewer in a historic and complex mirror-play.”


American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2010)

French Vermeil Medal, Paris (2001)

Coutts Contemporary Art Foundation Award, Zurich (1992)

Participation in International Arts Events

Whitney Biennale Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2006)

Documenta, Kassel(1972, 1977, 1982, 1992, 1997)

Skulptur Projekte Münster, Münster (1987, 1997)

Major Exhibitions and Commissions

All’Aperto, 6th Edition Turin (2014)

The Roof Garden Commission Metropolitan Museum of Art New York (2014)

Dan Graham – Beyond Museum of Contemporary Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York and Los Angeles (2009)