Yinka Shonibare plays with the tropes of colonialism and empire, utilizing Afro/Indonesian fabrics and headless figures to invite us to think again about globalism, past and present. It is my conviction that "idea art" or "conceptual art" should be able to stand on its own, to trigger a visual/emotional response without explanation, which doesn't mean that there aren't things one could explain about a work, if one so desired. Here's what the artist said in a recent interview with Jeffrey Brown on the PBS NewsHour:
I think it’s very important for the audience to be able to actually engage with the work. I don’t want people to run away from my work, you know? I want people to be attracted to the work. I want to draw them in. And I think color is one way of doing that. And then you can, if you wish to say something, people might be more sympathetic or be willing to engage and listen to you.