Sonia Boyce came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning black British art-scene of that time – becoming one of the youngest artists of her generation to have her work purchased by the Tate Gallery, with paintings that spoke about racial identity and gender in Britain. Since the 1990s Boyce’s practice has taken a more multi-media and improvisational approach by bringing people together to speak or sing about the past and the present.
Since 1983, Boyce has exhibited extensively throughout the UK and internationally. Exhibitions and monographs include: Sonia Boyce: Speaking in Tongues, (Gilane Tawadros, Kala Press 1997), Annotations 2/Sonia Boyce: Performance, (Mark Crinson, Iniva – the Institute of International Visual Arts 1998); Video Positive: the other side of zero, Bluecoat Gallery, Liverpool (2000); Recent Sonia Boyce: la, la, la, Reed College, Portland – Oregon (2001); Century City: art and culture in the modern metropolis, Tate Modern, London (2001); Sharjah International Bienal 7, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2005); Devotional, National Portrait Gallery, London (2007); Crop Over, Harewood House, Leeds and Barbados Museum & Historical Society (2007/2008), For you, only you (Paul Bonaventura, Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art, Oxford University and tour 2007/2008), Praxis: Art in Times of Uncertainty, Thessaloniki Biennal 2, Greece (2009); Like Love, Spike Island, Bristol and tour (publication by the Green Box Press, Berlin, 2010); Afro Modern, Tate Liverpool and tour, 2010; and, The Impossible Community, Moscow Museum of Modern Art (2011).
In 2007, David A Bailey, Ian Baucom and Sonia Boyce jointly received the History of British Art Book Prize (USA) for the edited volume Shades of Black: Black Art in 1980s Britain, published by Duke University Press in collaboration with Iniva and AAVAA (the African and Asian Visual Artists Archive). Boyce has just completed an AHRC Research Fellowship at Wimbledon College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London with her concluding research project the Future is Social, and holds a Visiting Professorship at Middlesex University, in the Department of Fine Art.