Sonia Dawn Boyce is a British Afro-Caribbean artist, living and working in London. She is a Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London. Boyce’s research interests explore art as a social practice and the critical and contextual debates that arise from this area of study. With an emphasis on collaborative work, Boyce has been working closely with other artists since 1990, often involving improvisation and spontaneous performative actions on the part of her collaborators. Boyce’s work involves a variety of media, such as drawing, print, photography, video, and sound. Her art explores the interstices between sound and memory, the dynamics of space, and incorporating the spectator. To date, Boyce has taught Fine Art studio practice for over thirty years in several art colleges across the UK.
Sonia Boyce, OBE RA was awarded the prestigious Golden Lion award for Best National Participation at La Biennale di Venezia 2022, representing the British Pavilion with her installation, Feeling Her Way. The Biennale, running from 23 April–27 November 2022, marked the fourth consecutive year of partnership between Therme Art and the British Council.
FEELING HER WAY
Sonia Boyce’s installation in the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale immerses visitors in the collaborative dynamism of five Black female musicians from Britain and Sweden, brought together by the artist to improvise, interact, and play with their voices. Colour-tinted video works take centre stage among Boyce’s signature tessellating wallpapers and golden 3-D geometric structures, which bring the audience into the work through their highly reflective surfaces. The rooms of the pavilion are filled with sounds — sometimes harmonious, sometimes clashing; embodying feelings of freedom, power and vulnerability.
Vocalists include award-winning, intergenerational singers Poppy Ajudha, Jacqui Dankworth MBE, Sofia Jernberg, Tanita Tikaram and composer Errollyn Wallen CBE — all linked by their impressive vocals and shared love and exploration of jazz and soul. The central video installation captures the singers as they meet for the first time, improvise, and perform together acapella, demonstrating the potential of collaborative play as a route to innovation, a central theme in Boyce’s practice. The videos were filmed at Abbey Road Studios in London and Atlantis Studios in Stockholm.
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