Based in London, Sonia Boyce (born 1962) emerged as one of the leading figures in the Black-British arts scene in the 1980s. Working across several mediums, including photography, drawing, installations and video, her early work spoke about race and gender.
Recent works have taken a new direction, working with improvised performances and collaborations. Exquisite Cacophony (2015) saw her bring together free-style rapper Astronautalis with the classic vocalist Elaine Mitchener, to create a linguistic tour de force. Paper Tiger Whisky Soap Theatre (2016) involved Astronautalis again, this time with choreographer Vânia Gala and the art students of the Villa Arson in Nice, to produce an improvised work resulting in a multi-screened video installation.
Over her 30-year career, Boyce has achieved impressive international and critical acclaim. She is represented in the permanent collections of Tate and Arts Council England, to name just two. In the last ten years, she has exhibited widely, including at Barbados Museum and Historical Society, Moscow Museum of Modern Art and the 56th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art. In 2007, she was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to Art, and in 2016 she became a Royal Academician. Currently, she is a Professor of Fine Arts at Middlesex University and Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London.
Sonia Boyce | What a tremendous award, I’m incredibly excited. I am, of course, very aware of the esteem with which this award is held amongst my fellow artists. I wish I could be more erudite in sharing some ambitious plans for the coming years, but to put it rather plainly, this affords me some much needed time to look and see. I feel very lucky.