Silk and Animal Prints for Yinka Shonibare’s “Leasure Lady With Ocelots”

Hello, and welcome to Style Imitating Art’s “Reveal Monday”. Today is the day that the hosts, unveil our interpretations of the chosen artwork.

What Is Style Imitating Art?

Style Imitating Art is hosted by Salazar of 14 Shades of Grey, Shelbee of Shelbee on the Edge, and me. Style Imitating Art challenges us to draw style inspiration from pieces of art. Every other Monday one of us selects an inspiration image and we each post the image on our blogs. The following Monday we share our art-inspired outfits. The following Wednesday, the curator shares all of the submissions on her blog.

This Week’s Presenter

That would be me. Last Monday, I first presented Yinka Shonibare’s, “Leisure Lady With Ocelots”. This is a powerful multi-media three-dimensional work addressing the problems associated with colonialism.

I first became aware of his work about eleven years ago when I viewed it at the Kemper Museum of Modern Art in Kansas City. I discussed this last week so let’s get on to how I answered this challenge.

My Take

Even though this is a very strong piece and I really wanted to present it, I really didn’t think about how I was going to interpret it. First up, I don’t own any wax cotton prints; made-up pieces, or flat yardage. According to Shonibare, “actually, the fabrics are not really authentically African the way people think,” says Shonibare. “They prove to have a crossbred cultural background quite of their own. And it’s the fallacy of that signification that I like. It’s the way I view culture – it’s an artificial construct.” Shonibare claims that the fabrics were first manufactured in Europe to sell in Indonesian markets and were then sold in Africa after being rejected in Indonesia. Today the main exporters of “African” fabric from Europe are based in Manchester in the UK and Helmond in the Netherlands.

That left me working with the prints from the Ocelots.

Black and Tan Abstract Jacket

After a lot of trial and error, I finally settled on a thrifted Kasper (from the Joplin Goodwill) that I’ve had for a few years. I know it made an appearance on the blog in August 2017. It’s not actually animal print, but an abstract pattern that reads like one.

I went for a black column for my other two main pieces. A Chico lace top also came from Goodwill. My pants were bought from Mango, again about five years ago.

Again, It’s All About the Accessories

I am beginning to think many times my actual garments are just settings for my “extras”. I’ve collected a few things over the years and enjoy wearing them. I have four of them used here.

The link belt from The Limited is my oldest piece. I found it on eBay about a dozen years ago. It’s heavy, substantial, and very old-world-looking. I’ve picked up other metal belts since this but this one remains my favorite.

As far as the Steve Madden Ballet flats, I had completely forgotten about them! I actually went to get another pair of flats and pulled these out and have decided to keep them out for a while. They have seen their wear in the ten years or so that I’ve had them but a little more won’t hurt.

Next is my first Eric Javits bag that I ever found on eBay. This is from a line that he calls Squishee and it is my favorite weave of his. I also like the old gold tone hardware of this one. His second-hand bags aren’t really cheap but the price is a lot better than a new one!

Last but not least, is my big cat pin. A couple of years ago, I decided I needed some cat pins and went to eBay and found a couple. So this is my newest item.

OK, I think that’s about it for me.

I hope you find something in this work that inspired you and didn’t mind the small journey into the knitting universe. Send me what you come up with at along with a small blurb on how the work influenced your choices by tomorrow.

I will do a roundup this Wednesday featuring all your designs. I hope that “The Mystery of Water” has inspired you to put together something.

Take care everyone and stay creative!

6 thoughts on “Silk and Animal Prints for Yinka Shonibare’s “Leasure Lady With Ocelots”

    1. We have always have seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to accessories. I think we even own an identical Stella and Dot piece. Hope you had a wonderful Memorial Day!


  1. It’s a gorgeous outfit, Terri! I really like the print on your jacket. I have a few dresses with a similar animal-like abstract print that I had considered for this challenge. Your accessories are all so good, too. I love the combination of black, tan, and gold. It always looks so rich and chic. I have a few chain link belts that I really like the look of but they always fall apart on me for some reason. So I guess I actually a few pieces of chain link belts that have all come apart!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Shelbee, this belt is very heavy duty. I will be a while before it does anything. I also have a silver one but am not to crazy about it. I think a good link belt is hard to find.


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