Sonia Boyce

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Sonia Boyce’s practice is fundamentally collaborative and inclusive, fostering a participatory approach that questions artistic authorship and cultural difference.

 Sonia Boyce OBE RA (b. London, 1962) is an interdisciplinary artist and academic working across film, photography, print, sound and installation. In 2022 she presented FEELING HER WAY, a major new commission for the British Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black Arts Movement of that time with figurative pastel drawings and photo collages that addressed issues of race and gender in Britain. In 1987, she became one of the youngest artists of her generation to have her artwork acquired by Tate and the first Black-British female artist to enter the collection. 

Since the 1990s Boyce’s practice has taken a significant multi-media and improvisational turn by bringing people together in a dynamic, social practice that encourages others to speak, sing or move in relation to the past and the present. Incorporating film, photography, print and sound in multi-media installations, Boyce’s practice is fundamentally collaborative and inclusive, fostering a participatory approach that questions artistic authorship and cultural difference. At the heart of her work are questions about the production and reception of unexpected gestures, with an underlying interest in the intersection of personal and political subjectivities.

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Sonia Boyce OBE RA (b. London, 1962) is an interdisciplinary artist and academic working across film, photography, print, sound and installation. In 2022 she presented FEELING HER WAY, a major new commission for the British Pavilion at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black Arts Movement of that time with figurative pastel drawings and photo collages that addressed issues of race and gender in Britain. In 1987, she became one of the youngest artists of her generation to have her artwork acquired by Tate and the first Black-British female artist to enter the collection. 

Since the 1990s Boyce’s practice has taken a significant multi-media and improvisational turn by bringing people together in a dynamic, social practice that encourages others to speak, sing or move in relation to the past and the present. Working across a range of media, Boyce’s practice is fundamentally collaborative and inclusive, fostering a participatory approach that questions artistic authorship and cultural difference. At the heart of her work are questions about the production and reception of unexpected gestures, with an underlying interest in the intersection of personal and political subjectivities. 

For nearly forty years Boyce has consistently worked within the art school context. Since 2014 she has been a Professor at University of the Arts London, where she holds the inaugural Chair in Black Art & Design. A three year research project into Black Artists and Modernism culminated with the 2018 BBC Four documentary Whoever Heard of a Black Artist?, exploring the contribution of overlooked artists of African and Asian descent to the story of Modern British art. The artist’s 2018 retrospective at Manchester Art Gallery caused controversy when John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) was temporarily removed from public view. The withdrawal of the painting formed the basis of Boyce’s six-screen film and wallpaper installation Six Acts (2018).

Selected Works
Installation Views
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Image: Sonia Boyce OBE RA: British Pavilion Artist 2022

Sonia Boyce OBE RA: British Pavilion Artist 2022

59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia
23 April - 27 November 2022

Sonia Boyce OBE RA will represent Great Britain at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2022. The exhibition will feature a major solo exhibition of new work from the artist.

Image: Artists in Conversation | Sonia Boyce and Simone Leigh

Artists in Conversation | Sonia Boyce and Simone Leigh

Sonia Boyce
4 February

Artists Sonia Boyce OBE RA and Simone Leigh in conversation with Courtney J. Martin, Paul Mellon Director, Yale Center for British Art. Boyce and Leigh will represent the United Kingdom and the United States, respectively, at the fifty-ninth Venice Biennale, opening in April 2022.

 

Image: Radio Ballads

Radio Ballads

Sonia Boyce
Serpentine North Gallery, London
31 Mar — 29 May 2022

In partnership with Barking and Dagenham’s Domestic Abuse Commission, Sonia Boyce’s Radio Ballad’s project invites individuals, community organisations and social care services into a discursive research process that creates a space for people’s lived experiences to be shared, listened to and made visible through collaborative artistic production.

Image: Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now

Life Between Islands: Caribbean-British Art 1950s – Now

Sonia Boyce
Tate Britain, London
1 December 2021 – 3 April 2022

This exhibition will explore work by artists from the Caribbean who made their home in Britain, alongside other British artists who have also made work addressing Caribbean themes and heritage. It celebrates how people from the Caribbean have forged new communities and identities in post-war Britain – and in doing so have transformed British culture and society.

Image: In the Castle Of My Skin

In the Castle Of My Skin

Sonia Boyce
Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough, UK
11 June - 10 October 2021

This summer MIMA celebrate one of Britain’s foremost artists, Sonia Boyce, through a sensory exhibition made through play and improvisation. A large sculpture by Boyce, based on the shape of Fool’s Gold, threads through the exhibition, interacting with artworks by 12 contemporary artists and selected pieces from MIMA’s Middlesbrough Collection.

Image: Announcing representation of Sonia Boyce

Announcing representation of Sonia Boyce

Sonia Boyce

Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to announce its representation of British Afro-Caribbean artist Sonia Boyce OBE RA. Boyce has been commissioned by the British Council to represent Britain with a major new exhibition at the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2022. Simon Lee Gallery’s inaugural exhibition with the artist will take place in London in Autumn 2022. Boyce is also represented by Apalazzogallery, Brescia, Italy.

Receive information on available works by Sonia Boyce