Sonia Boyce has won the Golden Lion award for Best National Participation at the Venice Biennale, becoming the first Black British woman to do so.
Her winning exhibition Feeling Her Way, focuses on the vocal experimentation of five Black female musicians embodying feelings of power, freedom and vulnerability. The jury said that “in working collaboratively with other black women, [Boyce] unpacks a plenitude of silenced stories.”
Boyce said: “This is momentous, and utterly overwhelming. I want to say thank you to everyone for their support. Their generosity has been beyond my expectations."
Emma Dexter, Director of Visual Arts for the British Council, which commissioned the work for the British Pavilion at the Biennale, said: “Sonia made a work for the Biennale that speaks of hope, experiment, joy and freedom, and the importance of remembering and celebrating women’s achievements and creativity.
“It is also highly significant that an artist who was part of the Black British Art movement of the 1980s has been honoured in this way – thereby bringing this crucial part of British art history into an international spotlight.”
Past British winners include Richard Hamilton (1993), Anish Kapoor (1990), Frank Auerbach (1986), Bridget Riley (1968) and Henry Moore (1948).