Shrigley makes way for Shonibare at Sketch

Sketch in Mayfair has stripped out the pink decor and David Shrigley artworks from its Gallery brasserie – one of the most distinctive restaurant interiors in the country – and replaced it with African-themed designs featuring artwork by Yinka Shonibare, to be unveiled next Thursday (March 3).

The British-Nigerian artist has created 15 pieces for the installation in celebration African culture, including five carved and hand-painted wooden masks based on those owned by Picasso, which famously inspired his artistic development.

Shonibare said: “Picasso was interested in appropriating from another culture, and I also appropriate from European ethnic art. Cultural appropriation can be a two-way street.”

The move comes as the profile of African and Afro-Caribbean cuisines continue to rise in London, with the emergence of powerhouse restaurant Ikoyi and a spate of openings including Akoko, Antillean, Chishuru and Tatale.

Mourad Mazouz, the Algerian-born restaurateur who launched Sketch 20 years ago, said: “I was very afraid to change the pink room as David Shrigley is a part of Sketch. Then I was introduced to Yinka Shonibare, and I thought, my God, the master himself wants to work with Sketch. It was like I was dreaming. Yinka’s work is so powerful, intelligent and mythical, and I am so pleased to share it with Sketch’s visitors from all over the world.

Shrigley’s pink interior will live on in the shape of a replica model on display in the Gallery. Following the room’s makeover, metallic copper will be the dominant colour of the walls and banquets, highlighted by yellow Senegalese fabrics and woven wall lights from Ghana. Shonibare has also designed a range of ceramic tableware, but there is no word as yet on the menu.

Sketch is set inside grand 18th-century premises on Conduit Street and has several other dining, cafe and bar options including the Lecture Room and Library, overseen by French superstar chef Pierre Gagnaire.

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