Contemporary Conversations: Yinka Shonibare & Tim Marlow

Watch British Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare CBE and Tim Marlow OBE, Director of the Design Museum in London, as they examine the threads and influences running through art history and explore how different genres and periods have inspired the artists of our time. They are joined by Sotheby's Head of Modern & Contemporary African Art, Hannah O'Leary, and Head of Modern & Post-War British Art, Frances Christie.

Meet the Panel

Marcus J Leith Photographer

Yinka Shonibare CBE

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA is a British-Nigerian artist living in the United Kingdom. His work explores cultural identity, colonialism and post-colonialism within the contemporary context of globalisation. His work focuses on colonialism, its legacy, and its impact on cultural identity.

His art frequently features printed Dutch wax fabrics — commonly used in traditional African clothing — repurposed to comment on identity and Empire.. Because he has a physical disability that paralyses one side of his body, Shonibare uses assistants to make works under his direction. Shonibare was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2004, and in 2010, became the fourth artist to display a work on Trafalgar Square's vacant Fourth Plinth:Nelson's Ship in a Bottle.

Tim Marlow OBE

Tim Marlow OBE is a British writer, award-winning broadcaster and art historian who is the Director and Chief Executive of the Design Museum in London. Prior to this, he was the Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where he staged exhibitions such as David Hockney: A Bigger Picture, Ai Weiwei and Matisse in the Studio. He has written and presented over 100 documentaries for radio and television as well as publishing books on August Rodin, Egon Schiele and JMW Turner. As well as his work in museums, Marlow was Director of Exhibitions at White Cube for ten years, and contributed to many publications such as The Guardian, The Times and Blueprint magazine, as well as founding Tate: The Art Magazine in 1993.

Frances Christie

Frances Christie joined Sotheby's in 2002 and is Head of Modern & Post-War Bristish Art in London. She graduated with a degree in History of Art from Trinity College, Cambridge and completed a Master of Arts degree in Early 20th Centrury British and French Art at the Courtauld Institute, London. She has been involved in the sale of all major collections of 20th Century British Art at Sotheby’s in the last decade including A Life in Pictures: The Collection of Lord & Lady Attenborough in 2009 and Bowie/Collector in 2016. Christie graduated with a degree in History of Art from Trinity College, Cambridge, and went on to study at the Courtauld Institute. In 2015, she joined the BBCAntiques Roadshow team as a specialist in pictures and is a Trustee of the leading UK arts charity Outside In.


Hannah O'Leary, Head of Modern & Contemporary African Art

Hannah O’Leary first joined Sotheby’s in 2005, initially working in the Dublin and Melbourne offices. In 2006 she joined Bonhams in London, where she helped pioneer the first international auctions of South African Art and Modern & Contemporary African Art, becoming Head of Department in 2010. With 10 years’ experience in this field, and having overseen record-breaking sales in both categories, she was delighted to return to Sotheby’s in 2016 to further develop this burgeoning market.

Ms O'Leary maintains close relationships with private collectors and public institutions alike, often advising on their collections and assisting with private sales and exhibition loans, most recently as international consultant to the South African National Gallery and contributing author to the Irma Stern retrospective catalogue Brushing Up on Stern (Cape Town, 2015).