Sonia Boyce Takes Top Prize at Venice Biennale

VENICE — Artist Sonia Boyce won the top prize at the competition held in England. Venice Art BiennaleThe longest running and highest profile international contemporary art exhibition in the world.

“Feeling It” – sound installation of five Black British female musicians singing a cappella – Received the Golden Lion for best national participation. Boyce became the first black woman to represent England at the Venice event.

He won the Golden Lion for best artist in Saturday’s other grand prize, the Biennial’s central exhibition. American artist Simone Leigh for his “strongly convincing monumental sculptural opening to Arsenal”, one of the two main exhibition spaces. The artist presented her work “Brick House,” a bronze work of a 16-foot-tall Black woman with a dome-shaped body and cornfields that combine the forms of a skirt and a clay house. He was first spotted on the High Line in New York in 2019. Leigh is also representing the United States at this year’s event, so she’s putting on her own show at the American Pavilion.

“I’ve been on the block a few times, but this is probably the biggest commission I’ve ever made,” Boyce said in a phone call after the ceremony. “It was a truly glorious challenge.”

“The project at the center of the pavilion deals with the problem of collective remembrance and the problem of resisting the erasure of female voices within the British music system,” he added. “It’s not just me celebrating.”

The Biennial’s five-person jury was led this year by Adrienne Edwards, curator and director of curation at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York this year. 2022 Whitney Biennial.

While announcing the awards, which were broadcast live from Venice on Saturday, Edwards said Boyce offered “another reading of history through sonic”.

“While working collaboratively with other Black women,” Edwards said, “it brings out a lot of muted stories.”

The Venice Biennale was founded in 1895 as an exhibition of new art from around the world. As the number of participating artists grew, other countries built pavilions for them, Belgium being the first in 1907.

Originally scheduled for 2021 but delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s event features 80 national pavilions.

The biennial’s central exhibition, consisting of two parts, is curated by a different artistic director each time. This year’s director Cecilia Alemani, born in Italy (Director and chief curator of New York’s High Line Art), seizing the opportunity to reverse more than a century of male artistic dominance, hosting a show where nine out of 10 artists are women.

At the awards ceremony on Saturday, the Silver Lion for the promising young participant of the central exhibition went to Lebanese artist Ali Cherri, who presented an omnichannel video focusing on a seasonal brickmaker in Sudan whose story coincides with the construction of a monumental dam. .

The jury, which included Lorenzo Giusti, Julieta González, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and Susanne Pfeffer, awarded four additional awards.

Special mentions for national entries went to France, represented by Zineb Sedira, an Algerian-born artist, and Uganda, represented by artists Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo.

Special mentions for the artists went to Shuvinai Ashoona, who produced fantastic drawings evoking the Inuit community and culture. Lynn Hershman LeesonSan Francisco-based artist working with technology and artificial intelligence.

In March, Golden Lion awards for lifetime achievement were awarded to artists Katharina Fritsch and Cecilia Vicuña.

The Venice Biennale will run until 27 November.

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