The American Library

Yinka Shonibare MBE

FRONT International

FRONT International
Ohio, United States

The American Library is a timely sequel to the Yinka Shonibare’s 2014 installation, The British Library. Both works are dedicated to the ideas supporting open borders, freedom of speech, educational rights, and blended heritage. The American Library is comprised of approximately six thousand books, each wrapped in colorful African wax cloth, a prominent feature of the artist’s work. Stamped in gold upon each spine is the name of a first or second generation immigrant to the United States who has contributed significantly to a particular field of art, science or American culture, or the name of an immigration dissenter who opposed such ideas.


  • Title: The American Library
  • Creator: Yinka Shonibare MBE
  • Exhibition Location : Cleveland Public Library
  • Caption: Yinka Shonibare MBE, The American Library, 2018. Installation view at The Cleveland Public Library. © Yinka Shonibare MBE. Commissioned by FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art. July 14-September 30, 2018. Courtesy James Cohan Gallery, New York and FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art with funds from VIA Art Fund, Cleveland Public Library and The City of Cleveland’s Cable Television Minority Arts and Education Fund. Photography by Field Studio.

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