Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare MBE curates the Arts Council Collection

The following Education Pack can be used to plan a visit to the exhibition Criminal Ornamentation: Yinka Shonibare CBE curates the Arts Council Collection. It can also be used in the classroom to stimulate discussion around the core themes  of the exhibition and the works on display.

Criminal Ornamentation explores the cultural and social dimensions of the use of pattern in art. The exhibition title refers to Adolf Loos' 'Ornament and Crime' (1908) a strongly worded essay in which Loos ridiculed the use of ornament as an indication of poor taste and the lowest level of cultural development. As a counterblast to Loos’ bombastic text, Yinka Shonibare MBE presents an explosion of pattern and colour bringing together works from across the visual arts including an acidic wallpaper by Glasgow-based designers, Timorous Beasties, the sculptural torso of Tattoo, a subversive work by Edward Lipski and the flowing vegetation of Honeysuckle, a design by May Morris.

This education resource is arranged thematically, however activities and ideas can be mixed up and applied to ensure the most relevant experience for your pupils. 

We encourage you to develop your own ways of thinking about the exhibition and to share your ideas with us @artscouncilcollection. The suggested activities can be used before, during or after a visit to the exhibition, or as activities used solely in the classroom.

Criminal Ornamentation is an exploration of pattern as a genuine form of expression that breaks away from traditional concepts of art and seeks to celebrate the radical deviancy of pattern. As such, the exhibition can be used to connect across multiple areas of the national curriculum.

Download the Criminal Ornamentation Education Pack.


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The Arts Council Collection is the UK's most widely seen collection of modern and contemporary art.

With more than 8,000 works by over 2,000 artists, it can be seen in exhibitions and public displays across the country and beyond. This website offers unprecedented access to the Collection, and information about each work can be found on this site.