This site now acts as an archive only. For the latest news, opinion, blogs and listings on disability arts and culture visit

Disability Arts Online

> > > Yinka Shonibare helps Disabled Artists get into Shape this Christmas

Internationally renowned artist Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) and patron for Shape the disability-led arts organisation, is helping to raise vital funds to open doors for disabled artists this Christmas.

Championing the Shape Christmas appeal for 2013 along with Shape media partners ‘Disability Arts Online’, Yinka is helping to raise awareness of the life-changing work that Shape does in making the arts accessible for everyone.

Yinka is asking people to donate whatever they can to help reach a target of £40,000 across this festive time, which will automatically be doubled by the Catalyst Arts Match Fund run by the Arts Council.

Shape Patron, Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) said:

“My career in the arts started with Shape. When I left Goldsmith’s College, I was looking for opportunities to develop my career. Shape offered me my first opportunity to be involved in the arts. What Shape does for disabled artists can make a very big impact on their development. It was certainly the case for me. For that, I’m very grateful.”

“Supporting Shape over their Christmas appeal is to support an inclusive arts sector; breaking down barriers and ensuring that disabled people can participate more fully in the arts. Please [Donate] whatever you can – every penny makes a difference. Even just £50.00 doubled to £100.00 could provide for two specialist mentoring sessions for a disabled artist."

Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) started working at Shape in 1992 – since working at Shape he moved on to achieve some incredible things. Yinka’s work 'Nelson's Ship in a Bottle' was his first public art commission on the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square in 2010, and in 2013 he was elected Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts.

Shonibare was also a Turner prize nominee in 2004 and awarded the decoration of Member of the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire”. He was notably commissioned by Okwui Enwezor At Documenta 10 in 2002 to create his most recognised work ‘Gallantry and Criminal Conversation’ that launched him on an international stage. He has exhibited at the Venice Biennial and internationally at leading museums worldwide.

Tony Heaton, CEO for Shape says: 

“We are delighted to have our incredibly talented friend and patron Yinka headline our appeal this Christmas. Yinka’s involvement will help us to raise awareness of our work, and raise vital funds so that we can continue to transform the lives of disabled artists and make the arts inclusive. We want an arts sector that is more open to disabled people, where more disabled artists are promoted and supported in the mainstream.

“Our philosophy is simple: the full participation of disabled people into arts & culture. And with great momentum already behind us with the legacy of the Paralympics, we are continuing to make an enormous difference to the lives of hundreds of people every year by providing opportunities for disabled artists; helping to develop careers and realise ambitions. This important work would simply not be possible without your support, which is why we are urging for [donations] this Christmas.”

Also helping the Shape Christmas Appeal this year is Shape’s media partner Disability Arts Online. You can read more about the appeal and how to donate here: follow on Twitter @shapearts follow on Facebook

Shape is a disability-led arts organisation working to improve access to culture for disabled people. Shape develops opportunities for disabled artists, they train cultural institutions to be more open to disabled people, and run participatory arts and development programmes - click here to donate

Yinka Shonibare MBE (RA) is an artist with international acclaim and was born in London and moved to Lagos, Nigeria at the age of three. He returned to London to study Fine Art first at Byam Shaw College of Art (now Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design) and then at Goldsmiths College, where he received his MFA, graduating as part of the ‘Young British Artists’ generation. He currently lives and works in the East End of London.

Read more about the Christmas appeal on Shape's website