Simone Leigh and Sonia Boyce Win Venice Biennale’s Top Honor


American sculptor Simone Leigh and British artist Sonia Boyce currently ended up named the recipients of the Golden Lion at the Fifty-Ninth Venice Biennale, with Leigh using the award for Most effective Participant, and Boyce accepting the difference for Very best Nationwide Participation. Their wins are historic, marking the 1st time a Black female has acquired the prize considering that the Biennale’s founding 127 many years in the past. Additionally, just about every is the initially Black female to signify her country at the biannual function, whose iteration this yr, “The Milk of Desires,” was curated by Cecilia Alemani and is the to start with to prominently feature women and trans artists.

Leigh, whose exhibition “Sovereignty” is occupying the US Pavilion, won for her imposing Brick Residence, explained by the prize jury as “rigorously investigated, virtuosically realized, and powerfully persuasive.” The sixteen-foot-large bronze sculpture, initially commissioned for the Large Line in New York, utilizes the patterns of Batammaliba architecture and Mousgoum dwellings and references the 1940 developing in the form of a smiling, huge-skirted Black girl that houses the Natchez, Mississippi, cafe Mammy’s Cabinet.

Boyce gained her Golden Lion for her exhibition at the British Pavilion, “Feeling Her Way,” incorporating audio, video clip, sculpture, and archival supplies to examine the perform of 5 Black British women musicians doing the job throughout a wide range of genres whose do the job has to day been largely underrecognized. The prize jury characterized the demonstrate as “propos[ing] an additional looking through of histories as a result of the sonic.”

Lebanese artist Ali Cherri received the Silver Lion, awarded each individual calendar year to a “promising younger participant,” for his 2022 video clip set up Of Males and Gods and Mud, which areas Sudan’s Merowe Dam in just an art-historical context. The energy was praised by the jury for “opening up from other narratives that depart from the logic of development and motive.”

The Golden Lions for Life span Accomplishment, awarded previously this calendar year, went to Cecilia Vicuña and Katharina Fritsch, equally of whom are exhibiting in this year’s biennale.

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