May 23, 2024


General Inside You

Simone Leigh, Sonia Boyce Win Top Awards at 2022 Venice Biennale –


For the 1st time, both equally of the Venice Biennale’s top rated honors went to Black women of all ages.

These awards, identified as the Golden Lions, went this calendar year to Simone Leigh and Sonia Boyce, who gained for participation in Cecilia Alemani’s key display and for a national pavilion, respectively.

The Silver Lion, for a “promising youthful artist” in the primary present, went to Ali Cherri. Particular mentions for Alemani’s exhibition were being also awarded to Shuvinai Ashoona and Lynn Hershman Leeson.

Boyce won for her British Pavilion, which was curated by Emma Ridgway. Zineb Sedira’s French Pavilion and the Uganda Pavilion, which showcased do the job by Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo, gained special mentions.

Leigh, who also represented the United States this 12 months at the Venice Biennale, was acknowledged for Brick Dwelling (2019), a 16-foot-tall sculpture that had previously appeared on New York’s Substantial Line park, where by Alemani serves as chief curator. The perform depicts an eyeless Black woman figure whose variety seems to incorporate with an architectural composition. Drawing on the styles of Batammaliba architecture and Mousgoum dwellings, the function also alludes to Mammy’s Cupboard, an eatery in Natchez, Mississippi, whose building resembles a mammy determine.

Brick House gained prominent placement at the Biennale, where by it was surrounded by performs by Belkis Ayón. It was the very first piece viewers noticed the moment they entered the Arsenale section of the principal show, titled “The Milk of Dreams,” which was concentrated loosely on a reemergence of Surrealist tendencies.

In a assertion read through by Adrienne Edwards, a Whitney Museum curator who led the team that picked the winners, the jury stated it experienced offered Leigh the Golden Lion for her “rigorously researched, virtuosically recognized, and powerfully persuasive monumental sculptural.”

Leigh utilised her speech to pay back homage to individuals whom she named her “interlocutors,” amid them Rashida Bumbray, who will lead an function as component of Leigh’s Biennale pavilion later this 12 months, and artist Lorraine O’Grady.

Boyce’s British Pavilion likewise centered Black females, concentrating precisely on types in Britain whose large contributions to the country’s musical historical past have gone less than-identified by the mainstream. By way of movies, sculptures, and displays of archival content, Boyce, who to start with emerged in the course of the Black British Arts movement of the 1980s, surveyed the get the job done of five Black female singers spanning a number of generations and musical models.

“Sonia Boyce proposes, as a result, a further looking at of histories through the sonic,” the jury said in its assertion.

By tears, Boyce thanked a variety of figures, together with the late curator Okwui Enwezor, who brought her operate to the most important present of the 2015 Venice Biennale. She made use of her speech to suggest that there are a lot of extra figures in her lineage who have however to emerge.

“We mustn’t forget that there’s an even longer arc, which we see in Zineb,” she claimed. “We mustn’t overlook that there is a extended arc which is additional than the folks than we see in this article.”

Cherri won for Of Men and Gods and Mud (2022), a online video set up that attracts a line involving the earlier and the current by way of the Merowe Dam in Sudan. The get the job done envisions the dam as a little something akin to a creature alone, 1 that has similarities to beasts found in art of hundreds of years past. The jury praised the perform for “opening up from other narratives that depart from the logic of development and purpose.”

In advance of the opening of the biennale, the prestigious Golden Lions for Life time Accomplishment Awards were given to Cecilia Vicuña and Katharina Fritsch, both of those of whom are featured in the most important demonstrate.

The German-born Fritsch was lauded for her uncanny, normally about-sized reproductions of objects, animals, and men and women. Vicuña, a Chilean visual artist and a poet, was honored for her extensive-ranging observe “built all over a deep fascination with Indigenous traditions and non-Western epistemologies,” according to Alemani in a statement. The Golden Lion for Life time Achievement is normally given to a person mid or late-job artist this calendar year marked the initial time considering that 2013 that two artists shared the prize.

In addition to Edwards, this year’s jury also is composed of Lorenzo Giusti, the director of GAMeC Bergamo in Italy Julieta González, artistic director of Instituto Inhotim in Brazil Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, the founder of Savvy Modern day in Berlin, artistic director of Sonsbeek 20–24 in the Netherlands, and the incoming director of Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW) in Berlin and Susanne Pfeffer, director of Museum MMK für Moderne Kunst in Frankfurt.


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