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Sonia Boyce Artist Talk

27 November 2019 5:30 pm - 27 November 2019 6:30 pm

Image: Sonia Boyce, She Ain’t Holding Them Up, She’s Holding On (Some English Rose), 1986, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art

Artist and academic Sonia Boyce (OBE, RA) is an influential figure within British contemporary art. Here she reflects on what has become a major talking point: the take down of John William Waterhouse’s Hylas and the Nymphs (1896) as part of her 2018 show, Six Acts at Manchester Art Gallery. This controversy is discussed in relation to Institutional Critique as an artistic practice since the 1960’s as well as discussions resulting from Black Artists and Modernism’s (BAM) focus on museum collections and their recent research collaboration with Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA).

BAM are looking at which black artists (using their definition of artists of African, Asian, Middle Eastern and North African decent) are represented in the Middlesbrough Collection, how their works were acquired and seen. The results of this audit are shared publically in Why Are We Here?, currently showing at MIMA alongside one of Boyce’s key early works, She Ain’t Holding Them Up, She’s Holding On (Some English Rose), 1986 (acquired in 1987 and now part of the Middlesbrough Collection). BAM is a 3-year collaboration between University of the Arts London and Middlesex University. It is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black-British art scene with work which addressed issues of race and gender. Since the 1990s she has developed a social practice which incorporates a variety of media, including photography, film, collage, print, drawing, installation and sound. At the centre of her work are questions about production, the reception of unexpected gestures and the intersection of diverse histories.

Boyce was Professor of Fine Art at Middlesex University, London between 2012 and 2017 and has been Professor of Black Art and Design at the University of the Arts London since 2014. She has work in the permanent collections of Arts Council England, Tate Modern.

The event is FREE but PLEASE ensure you book a place here


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