The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth‎, Modern TV presents Yinka Shonibare, CBE (RA), "Odile and Odette"


July 11, 2020
07:00 PM until 10:00 PM


Online through The Modern's website View map

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Yinka Shonibare CBE (RA)
British and Nigerian, born 1962
Odile and Odette, 2005
High-definition digital video; 14 minutes, 28 seconds
Collection of the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Gift of the Director's Council and Museum purchase, 2013

Yinka Shonibare's Odile and Odette, 2005, portrays an account of Tchaikovsky's famous ballet Swan Lake. The ballet tells the story of a prince who must choose between the good swan, Odette, and the bad swan, Odile.

Traditionally, the two roles are danced by the same ballerina, with Odile in black clothes and Odette in feminine, finer garments. In Shonibare's Odile and Odette, one black and one white ballerina dance the parts on either side of an empty gold frame, mirroring each other's movements. Both dancers wear pointe shoes and tutus of batik cloth, a fabric associated with the European colonization of West Africa.

By editing the film so that the two women perform interchangeably, as equals, Shonibare nods to the fundamentally erroneous narratives that fuel colonialism and racism.

"The roles—one as the ego and one as alter—in my version are more ambiguous: you would not necessarily be able to tell who is the bad swan and who is the good one," says Shonibare.