Academician Yinka Shonibare has wrapped the facade of the Royal Academy’s Burlington Gardens entrance with a family portrait spanning the institution’s history.
The 71-metre-wide collage, titled RA Family Album, depicts artists and other figures who have worked with the RA since its founding in 1768. These include black-and-white pictures of Tracey Emin, Richard Rogers, Grayson Perry as well as shots of past monarchs, such as King George V, visiting the site.
Shonibare’s work is topped by one of his colourful fabric designs dripping down into the collage below.
‘Before I was a member, I always thought the Royal Academy was quite mysterious,’ says Shonibare. ‘With this work I’m trying to bring the inside outside. It’s traditional and subversive, paint democratically drips on everyone.’
The work also disguises the scaffolding on the Burlington Gardens building as the RA undergoes a £50 million revamp, devised by David Chipperfield.
As part of the redevelopment, which will be complete in 2018, there will be new gallery space, as well as a passageway connecting the Academy’s main Burlington House building to its Burlington Gardens entrance.