23 ft tall, fiberglass and covered in patterns inspired by Dutch wax batiks, Yinka Shonibare’s Wind Sculpture at the Doris Freedman Plaza is a challenging work. Shonibare, a British-Nigerian artist was commissioned by the Public Art Fund to create this work. According to the artist, the sculpture is reminiscent of “the untethered sail of a ship billowing in the wind”. Yes and no. Sometimes, the blah, the blah that accompanies a work of art helps one appreciate what is really going on in the piece. For instance, Shonibare said the colors in Wind Sculpture remind him of his childhood on the beaches of Lagos.
“Most of us move around the world, if you fly, there is wind involved, and if you come by boat, there is wind involved,” he says. “It’s a metaphor for the natural movement of people. Migration.” Yinka Shonibare
For me what Shonibare has to say about the this sculpture, is far more interesting than the sculpture itself.
“A lot of migrants, particularly about a hundred years ago at least, most people traveled by sea. So the sails are a very symbolic thing. And the wind was usually part of the process of traveling by boat,” he continues. “New York is a migrant city…not just in the United States, Europe as well, there’s a particular climate that’s not very generous toward immigrants. But actually most of the talent we have within our society are immigrants, particularly in the United States. In a way this work as also a kind of celebration and a tribute as well to migrants.” Yinka Shonibare
I think the best thing to do is to visit the sculpture. For those of us who live in New York, Wind Sculpture is located at the corner of 59 st. and Central Park South. It is likely one will walk by this corner in the next 8 months.
Mar 7, 2018 – Oct 14, 2018
Public Art Fund Commission
Doris C, Freedman Plaza, NY
Central Park, 60th Street & 5th Avenue