get complete details of In pictures: See inside Sonia Boyce’s Golden Lion-winning UK pavilion at the Venice Biennale
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The juries of the 59th Venice Biennale awarded his highest honor British artist Sonia Boyce on Saturday morning.
Boyce accepted the Golden Lion for best national pavilion for his dazzling exhibition “Feeling Her Way,” which melds video, collage, music, and sculpture. The installation celebrates the collaborative dynamism of five black female musicians (Poppy Ajudha, Jacqui Dankworth, Sofia Jernberg, Tanita Tikaram and composer Errollyn Wallen) whom Boyce invited to improvise together in the same studio where the Beatles recorded “Abbey Road”. The exhibition features intimate, color-tinted videos of the artists positioned among the artist’s signature tessellated wallpapers and golden geometric sculptures.
The Biennale’s five-person jury praised Boyce for raising “important rehearsal questions” rather than perfectly tuned music, as well as for creating “chorus-like relationships between voices in the distance.”
This Biennale marks the second time Boyce has presented in Venice, and during an emotional acceptance speech, he paid tribute to the late curator Okwui Enwezor, who recognized his work in the flagship exhibition he organized in 2015.
Significantly, Boyce is the first black woman to represent the UK Before opening, the artist, a key member of the British black art movement in the 1980s, told Artnet News that she was still unraveling what it meant to represent your country in this context.
“Kobena Mercer wrote a great essay in 1994 called Black art and the burden of representation, about how there is a responsibility placed on the shoulders of black artists to be representatives, to carry the weight of all black artists, of all black people, without any consensus,” he said. “For me, that becomes like it doesn’t matter what I do, in a way; because I am there as a fragment of ‘everyone’”.
After the ceremony, Boyce told Artnet News that her collaborators’ performances were born from a simple question: “As a woman, as a black person, what does freedom feel like? How can you imagine freedom?
“Sonia Boyce: Feeling Her Way” is on view in the British Pavilion in the Giardini at the 59th International Art Exhibition: La Biennale di Venezia, until November 27, 2022. See images of the award-winning installation below.
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