Sonia Boyce – I’m With Her Too
“It was very clear when I was at art college that I was somehow out of place; the system hadn’t anticipated me, or anyone like me. Even though there were a lot of female students, they were thought about as though they were being trained to become the wives of artists, not artists themselves. As a black person, there wasn’t a narrative at all. Maybe to be a model.”
– Sonia Boyce
Emerging as an Afro-Carribean British artist against the highly conservative political backdrop of the 1980s, Sonia Boyce’s work addresses the identity politics of a minority group that has mostly been overlooked in art history. Unlike the United States, where the history of artists of colour has had a more pronounced place, black artists in Britain have largely been left out of mainstream narratives. Therefore, despite a long exhibition history dating back to the early 1980s, Sonia Boyce is still an unfamiliar name to the general public.
Following her membership of the Royal Academy and appointment as an OBE, Boyce has now been awarded the ultimate recognition of the British art world: representation of the UK at the upcoming Venice Biennale in 2022.
Although Boyce’s practice has evolved from primarily drawing to a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach, identity politics are still at the center of her work. I’m With Her Too is based on a found placard from the New York’s Women’s march in 2016, shortly after the results of the 2016 election in the United States. The vibrant colourfields and arrows signify the positive energy generated by collective action.