Yinka Shonibare Wrapped More than 200 Books in ‘African’ Textiles, His ‘American Library’ is Designed to Start a Co…


THE MOST RECENT ADDITION to the art collection at The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College is a series of books. The museum acquired “The American Library (Activists)” by Yinka Shonibare, a large-scale installation of 234 books wrapped in the artist’s signature Dutch wax print fabric.

The spines of most of the books feature the name of a first or second generation American writer inscribed on its spine in gold foil. The writers have an “activist” bent. Notables include Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), Mamie Phipps Clark (1917-1983), Grace Paley (1922-2007), Cesar Chavez (1927-1993), Harry Belafonte (1927-), Delores Huerta (1930-), Ralph Nader (1934-), Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998), Sonia Sotomayor (1954- ), Sonja Sohn (1964-), and Ayaan Hirsi Ali (1969-).


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