Interview with… Yinka Shonibare MBE

Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon spoke to the artist about the design that he has created for this year’s South Bank Sky Arts Awards and the future of the arts industry in the UK. 



Hello Yinka – thank you so much for talking to me. Could you explain to me about the design of this year’s South Bank Arts Award? The award is a daisy encased in a transparent acrylic cube.

How did the concept for the award come about? I was thinking about aesthetics and the Arts, daisies also signify new beginnings, I thought that is apt for an award like this.

How do you think the design represents the arts as a whole? Was it difficult to come up with a design to represent all arts? The design is purely metaphorical, a flower signifies both life, fertility and death, all of the subjects that are perennially explored by Artists.

What do you think the future of the arts looks like if continuous cuts are made to the industry? I am afraid if cuts were to continue in the Arts we would be eroding a fundamental aspect of our humanity and our economy. We would become spiritually and intellectually vacuous. We would be much poorer as a people.

How do you think we can continue to support the arts to ensure that as an industry it continues to thrive? We must start to treasure Arts education for its own sake, people who have been exposed to the Arts go on to develop a range of numerous skills from empathy to leadership.

If you could highlight just how important the arts industry is to the UK – what would you say? The Arts are a fundamental part of British culture and export, we know who we are through history and our diverse shared culture. Our service industries will be almost nonexistent without the Arts.

By Emma Clarendon

The winners of The South Bank Sky Arts Awards will be announced in a ceremony taking place at the Savoy Hotel on the 1st July. 

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