Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina: Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA)

February 20, 2017

In this film, the British Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) describes his new work, Mrs Pinckney and the Emancipated Birds of South Carolina, which was created especially for the exhibition Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte, and the Shaping of the Modern World. The sculpture was co-commissioned by the Yale Center for British Art and Historic Royal Palaces, Kensington Palace. Hazel Carby (Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor of African American Studies, Professor of American Studies, and Director of the Initiative on Race, Gender, and Globalization) and Anna Arabindan-Kesson (Assistant Professor of African American and Caribbean Art, Princeton University) contextualize Shonibare’s work, which was inspired by a meeting, in 1753, between Princess Augusta and Mrs. Eliza Lucas Pinckney, the owner of a slave plantation in South Carolina, which was then a British colony. The dress worn by Mrs. Pinckney on the occasion, made of silk produced on her plantation, is featured in the film and currently on display in the exhibition at the Center, courtesy of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History.