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Sonia Boyce OBE RA wins Golden Lion Award

Sonia Boyce standing in front of artwork. Behind her is a colourful tapestry of geometric shapes.
  • Written byDan Austin
  • Published date23 April 2022
Sonia Boyce standing in front of artwork. Behind her is a colourful tapestry of geometric shapes.
Artist Sonia Boyce standing in room 5 at the British Pavilion, 2022, Image Credit – Cristiano Corte © British Council

Sonia Boyce OBE RA, Professor at UAL and inaugural Chair in Black Art and Design, has won the prestigious Golden Lion award for Best National Participation at La Biennale di Venezia 2022 for her exhibition ‘Feeling Her Way’ at the British Pavilion.

The artwork focuses on the vocal experimentation of five outstanding Black female musicians as they embody feelings of power, freedom and vulnerability. Awarding the accolade, the jury said: “Sonia Boyce proposes … another reading of histories through the sonic. In working collaboratively with other black women, she unpacks a plenitude of silenced stories.”

Feeling Her Way, immerses visitors in the collaborative dynamism of five Black female musicians (4 British, 1 Swedish) brought together by the artist to improvise, interact and play with their voices.

Four videos are playing on the gallery wall featuring performers - Errollyn Wallen, Tanita Tikaram, Poppy Ajudha, Jacqui Dankworth who are singing in a studio
Room 1 in the British Pavilion featuring four performers - Errollyn Wallen, Tanita Tikaram, Poppy Ajudha, Jacqui Dankworth – 2022 – Image Credit – Cristiano Corte © British Council
This is momentous, and utterly overwhelming. I want to say thank you to everyone for their support. Their generosity has been beyond my expectations. Even more so to the great team I have been fortunate to work with. The performers in Feeling Her Way - Poppy Ajudha, Jacqui Dankworth MBE, Sofia Jernberg, Tanita Tikaram and Errollyn Wallen CBE - are stunning. They connect us in ways that are joyful, soulful and necessary. Venice is living up to its reputation as the city of dreams.

— Sonia Boyce, UAL Professor and Chair in Black Art and Design
As Commissioner of the British Pavilion I could not be more delighted that Sonia Boyce’s Feeling Her Way has been recognised in this way – 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. On behalf of the whole British Council I congratulate Sonia Boyce on this wonderful achievement!

— Emma Dexter, British Council Director Visual Arts, Commissioner of the British Pavilion and Chair of the British Pavilion Selection Committee

Sonia Boyce: British Pavilion artist at the Venice Biennale 2022

Exhibition Tour

The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion at the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK's artists, architects, designers and curators.

Sonia Boyce’s British Council Commission for the British Pavilion at the Biennale Arte Venice runs until 27 November 2022.