A world of ideas

The boy’s Victorian suit is made from Dutch wax-printed cotton, whose origins lie in Europe’s trade routes with Indonesia and Africa. The stars on the celestial globe have been renamed after famous black musicians. Trumpet Boy is from a series called Planets in My Head, which explores Enlightenment ideas of education, discovery, opportunity and reason. The Foundling Hospital was a product of the Enlightenment belief that individuals could improve their lives and the lives of others through education. Trumpet Boy also speaks to the role that music played at the Hospital.

About the artist

Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA is a British-Nigerian artist and a Foundling Fellow. His work explores issues of cultural identity, race and colonialism, often by re-imagining well known works of art, particularly British art of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Some of Shonibare’s most famous works are adaptions of paintings by William Hogarth and Thomas Gainsborough.