Sonia Boyce is first black woman to represent Britain at Venice Biennale

A major solo exhibition of the artist's new work will be showcased in the UK's pavilion next year

TRAILBLAZER: Portrait of Sonia Boyce (Photo: Paul Cochrane, courtesy of UAL)

ARTIST SONIA Boyce has been selected to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale, making her the first black woman to do so.

The display of artist’s work, which includes a major solo will exhibition of new material, will be showcased in the UK’s pavilion between May and November 2021.

Boyce said: “You could have knocked me down with a feather when I got the call to tell me I had been chosen to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale 2021 – it was like a bolt out of the blue. Obviously, I’m extremely honoured, excited – and nervous. I’m eager to start this creative journey, exploring the experience with others who agree to work with me along the way.”

Emma Dexter, commissioner of the British Pavilion and chair of the British Pavilion Selection Committee, said the British Council was “thrilled” to announce Boyce had been commissioned to represent the UK.

Dexter said: “Boyce’s work raises important questions about the nature of creativity, questioning who makes art, how ideas are formed, and the nature of authorship. At such a pivotal moment in the UK’s history, the committee has chosen an artist whose work embodies inclusiveness, generosity, experimentation and the importance of working together.”

Founded in 1985, the Venice Biennale exhibition is the world’s most prestigious contemporary art festival and brings together artists from all disciplines.

Boyce’s art features a variety of media, including print, photography and video, and explores the intersections between sound and memory.

In 1987 Boyce became the first black woman to have her work enter the Tate collection. She is also the first black woman to be elected a Royal Academician.

Her early work addressed issues of race and gender in the media and everyday life.

Last year Boyce was awarded an OBE for services to art.

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