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Feeling Her Way: Sonia Boyce

    We are proud to have supported Sonia Boyce’s exhibition Feeling Her Way for the British Pavilion at this year’s 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, commissioned by the British Council.

    Boyce’s installation Feeling Her Way immerses visitors in the collaborative dynamism of five Black female musicians (four British, one Swedish) 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 jazz and soul influences and impressive vocals. The central video installation will show 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.

    This new commission expands on Boyce’s Devotional Collection, built over 20+ years and spanning more than three centuries, which honours the substantial contribution of Black British female musicians to the emotional lives of the public and to transnational culture. Works from this collection – vinyl, CDs, books and ephemera – form part of the installation in the pavilion, elevated by golden plinths.

    “I feel deeply honoured to have been selected to produce this work for the British Pavilion at Biennale Arte 2022. The wealth of generosity and sheer talent of those who have contributed to making Feeling Her Way has been immense and I am so proud of what has been achieved. Most of all the performers who dared to go on this journey – they are absolutely brilliant!”

    Sonia Boyce

    The Henry Moore Foundation awarded £17,000 towards this exhibition.

    Feeling Her Way, Sonia Boyce’s British Council Commission for the British Pavilion at the Biennale Arte Venice, runs from 23 April – 27 November 2022. For more information visit venicebiennale.britishcouncil.org