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Artist Yinka Shonibare designs special royal mail stamp

COMMISSION: Artist and royal academician has designed a special stamp to mark 250 years of the Royal Academy of Arts

BRITISH-NIGERIAN artist Yinka Shonibare MBE has designed a stamp for royal mail to mark the 20th anniversary of the Royal Academy of Arts (RA).

Shonibare, a royal academician, is one of six artists who have been chosen to create a design to commemorate the RA’s landmark anniversary.

Speaking to The Voice, Shonibare said: "I was happy to be doing it...they will produce literally hundreds of thousands of these stamps so my work will be seen by a lot of people around the world, which is also something I feel very honoured to be doing."

Shonibare's design is entitled Queuing at the RA and was inspired from a photograph the artist found in the RA archives. In the original photograph visitors to the RA can be seen queuing in a courtyard for what is believed to be a Turner exhibition in the 1950s. The aerial photo captures the patrons umbrellas aloft. Shonibare simplified the image and opted for bold colours to create a contrast. The result is an eye catching miniature artwork that will enable hundreds of thousands of people to have a little, affordable Shonibare creation in their homes.

The artist, whose work (Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle) has been exhibited in Trafalgar Square on the fourth plinth, made the process of coming up with a design idea sound simple.

He said: "I mean, it’s just a case of doing some sketches and then thinking OK I want to simplify this image and what colours am I going to use."


BOLD: Yinka Shonibare's stamp

The Turner prize nominee, who has had his creations displayed in reputable art institutions such as Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Museum of African Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, said he will be sending more letters now.

In addition to Shonibare, five other royal academicians: Norman Ackroyd CBE, RA; Tracey Emin CBE, RA; Grayson Perry CBE, RA; Fiona Rae RA; Barbara Rae CBE, RA have designed original artworks for the stamp collection.

There six artists were selected out of 80 royal academicians.

The designs, all specially commissioned artworks, depict each artists’ reflection on their works and the RA’s most famous exhibition - the Summer Exhibition, held every year uninterrupted since 1769.

Founded in 1768, the Royal Academy works to promote the enjoyment of visual arts and give artists a platform.

Shonibare’s stamp and those created by the five other artists can be pre-ordered now from www.royalmail.com/royalacademy. All of the commissioned original artworks will be available from 7,000 Post Offices nationwide from June 5 2018.

Pick up next week's copy of The Voice to read our full interview with Shonibare where he talks in more detail about his creative process, designing the stamp and what it means to him and why art is always political.

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