Published: 11:00, 23 March 2016
A new exhibition has been unveiled at the Turner Contemporary in Margate.
The commission, which marks the fifth anniversary of the gallery, has been created by Yinka Shonibare and is called End of Empire.
The work, which was opened last night, explores how alliances were forged in the First World War changed British society and how they still affect us today.
Mr Shonibare said: “The work is a metaphor for the shifting movement of balance and disagreement in the process of negotiation.
"The two opposing sides of the First World War are represented on a seesaw, as the seesaw moves out of balance we see points of menacing movements which signify what we now know to be the dark painful doom of disagreement which led to the war.”
The piece features two figures dressed in the artist’s signature bright and patterned fabrics, their globe-heads highlighting the countries involved in the First World War.
Seated on a Victorian seesaw, the entire work slowly pivots in the gallery space, offering a metaphor for dialogue, balance and conflict, while symbolising the possibility of compromise and resolution between two opposing forces.
Presented alongside this new commission is Shonibare’s The British Library, a colourful work, celebrating and questioning how immigration has contributed to the British culture that we live in today.
Shelves of books covered in Dutch wax printed cotton textile will fill the gallery, their spines bearing the names of immigrants who have enriched British society.
From TS Eliot and Hans Holbein to Zaha Hadid, The British Library reminds us that the displacement of communities by global war has consequences that inform our lives and attitudes today.
Turner Contemporary director Victoria Pomery said: “We are delighted to present this major new work by Yinka Shonibare to mark the fifth anniversary of the gallery.
"Shonibare’s work explores the impact of conflict and immigration, and while End of Empire is inspired by the First World War these issues are still pertinent today.”