The sculpture features in the RA's summer exhibition to mark his election as an academician, one of a record number of new members elected in the past year. Called Cake Man (II), it features a lifesize mannequin dressed in African print, with a huge pile of cakes balanced on his head.
"It's my tribute to bankers," said Shonibare. "There's been a lot of talk about bonuses to bankers and the top 1% literally taking all the cake. So this piece, I guess, is about greed. It has more cakes than anyone could ever eat or manage."
Shonibare said he shared the ongoing public resentment but was well aware people might call him a hypocrite.
"The entire art world is underpinned by capitalism, so I guess I'm biting the hand that feeds me. That's not to say I can't pass comment but I know I can be accused of being complicit with the system," he said.
Shonibare said it was an honour to become an academician, particularly because he was chosen by his peers.
To celebrate the record number of new academicians, a dedicated room has been given to works by the new recruits. They include
The summer show, the biggest event of its kind in the world, is as traditional a summer fixture as
This year there will be more than 1,200 artworks, chosen from 12,000 entries. The hanging committee was led by
There will also be works by higher profile names, with the sculptor
The show will also feature an architecture room, a print room and works in memory of academicians who have died over the last year including Sir
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