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Black Women Make History Winning Top Prizes At Venice Biennale Arte 2022

African American Women Make History at Venice Biennale
Simone Leigh Wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale |AP Arte| Felix H'rhager

Reported by: Taylor Lynn

The Jury of the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, comprising Adrienne Edwards (USA), President of the Jury, Lorenzo Giusti (Italy), Julieta González (Mexico), Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung (Cameroon), Susanne Pfeffer (Germany), have decided to present the following awards with top prizes going to Black women. Congratulations to all the winners this year.

Venice Biennale Arte Golden Award Winners 2022

Golden Lion for Best National Participation:

GREAT BRITAIN Sonia Boyce: Feeling Her Way Commissioner: Emma Dexter, British Council Curator: Emma Ridgway; Exhibitor: Sonia Boyce Venue: Giardini

2 special mentions have been awarded to the following National Participations:

FRANCE Les rêves n’ont pas de titre / Dreams have no titles Commissioner: Institut Francais with the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Culture Curators: Yasmina Reggad, Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath Exhibitor: Zineb Sedira Venue: Giardini

UGANDA*** (***New participation) RADIANCE: They dream In Time Commissioner: Naumo Juliana Akoryo Curator: Shaheen Merali Exhibitors: Acaye Kerunen and Collin Sekajugo Venue: Palazzo Palumbo Fossati San Marco 2597

Golden Lion for the Best Participant in the International Exhibition The Milk of Dreams to:

Simone Leigh (1967, Chicago, USA. Lives in New York City, USA)

Silver Lion for a Promising Young Participant in the International Exhibition The Milk of Dreams to:

Ali Cherri (1976, Beirut, Lebanon. Lives in Paris, France)

The Jury has decided to award two special mentions to the following participants:

Lynn Hershman Leeson (1941, Cleveland, USA. Lives in San Francisco, USA)


Shuvinai Ashoona (1961, Kinngait. Lives in Kinngait, Nunavut)

The Awards Ceremony of the 59th International Art Exhibition took place today, April 23rd, 2022, at Ca’ Giustinian. Upon recommendation of the Curator of the 59th Exhibition Cecilia Alemani, the board of La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Roberto Cicutto, also awarded two Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement to German artist Katharina Fritsch and the Chilean artist Cecilia Vicuña.

The Motivations | Venice Biennale Arte Exhibition 2022

The awards of the International Jury have been presented with the following motivations:

British Artist Sonia Boyce Wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale
British Artist Sonia Boyce Wins Golden Lion at Venice Biennale |Getty

Golden Lion for Best National Participation to Great Britain: Sonia Boyce proposes, consequently, another reading of histories through the sonic. In working collaboratively with other black women, she unpacks a plenitude of silenced stories. Boyce proposes a very contemporary language in relation to fragmented forms that the viewer in experiencing the pavilion can piece together. Important questions of rehearsal as opposed to the perfect attuned, as well as relations between voices in a form of choir, in a distance, and at varying points in the show are posed.

Special mentions as National Participations to: France: in recognition of and gratitude for the long standing exchange of ideas and solidarity as the idea of of building communities in the diaspora. For looking at complex history of cinema beyond the west and the multiple histories of resistance in her work.

Uganda: in acknowledgement of their vision, ambition and commitment to art and working in their country. Acaye Kerunen in her choice of sculptural materials like bark-clothed rafia illustrates sustainability as a practice and not just a policy or concept.

Golden Lion for the Best Artist in the International Exhibition The Milk of Dreams to Simone Leigh: for the rigorously researched, virtuosically realized, and powerfully persuasive monumental sculptural opening to the Arsenale, which alongside Belkis Ayón, provided a compelling entrée to the ideas, sensibilities and approaches constellated and animated throughout The Milk of Dreams.

Silver Lion for a Promising Young Artist in the International Exhibition The Milk of Dreams to Ali Cherri: for an interdisciplinary and multilayered presentation that takes a meditation on earth, fire and water from a constructive perspective to a mythical dimension, reflecting The Milk of Dreams’s own opening up to other narratives that depart from the logic of progress and reason.

Two Special Mentions are awarded to the following artists of the International Exhibition The Milk of Dreams: Shuvinai Ashoona reveals in her drawings and paintings a profundity of indigenous Inuk cosmogonies. An existence in which species are interdependent on each other, and which is not mediated by the coloniality of power of the human species. Acknowledging the violences of the colonial enterprise, Ashoona, in her work proposes possibilities of escaping the cul-de-sac by listening in, listening back and listening forward to indigenous knowledge.

Lynn Hershman Leeson: for indexing the cybernetic concerns that run through the exhibitions in an illuminating and powerful way that also includes visionary moments of her early practice that foresaw the influence of technology in our everyday lives.

About Venice Art Biennale 2022

The Art Biennale, a contemporary visual art exhibition and so called because it is held biennially (in odd-numbered years), is the original biennale on which others in the world have been modeled. The Biennale Foundation has a continuous existence supporting the arts as well as organizing the following separate events:

  • Art Biennale International Art Exhibition 1895

  • Venice Biennale of International Architecture1980

  • Biennale Musica International Festival of Contemporary Music 1930

  • Biennale Teatro International Theatre Festival 1934

  • Venice Film Festival 1932

  • Venice Dance Biennale International Festival of Contemporary Dance1999

  • International Kids' Carnival 2009

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