Sonia Boyce on using art to ‘handle’ childhood trauma

Sonia Boyce said a piece of art helped her “process” the sexual assault she suffered as a child.

His 1985 work, Mr Close-Friend-Of-The-Family Pays A Visit While Everyone Else Is Out, is a charcoal drawing on paper created by 60-year-old award-winning artist Boyce for the exhibition The Thin Black Line at the Institute for Contemporary Art in London.

Speaking of her work with BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, she said: “I’m recalling what happened, when a man, who was a close family friend, came to the house and no one else was there. there. house and I would let him in and he tried to rape me.


Sonia Boyce (British Council/PA)

“I would be December 13th, something like that, and I never talked about it.”

Boyce added: “I think I just remembered and I didn’t really tell anyone what I was going to do for the show, I just came in with this thing rolled up in a tube and put it on. and then ran home.

“Because I feel, ‘I just have to say this at the moment’.”

When host Lauren Laverne asked if the drawing helped Boyce process what happened, Boyce replied, “Yes, it does.

“I mean, I think part of the whole art-making process is that you can somehow handle things. So yes it did, it helped.

After being encouraged to attend art school by her high school art teacher, Boyce went on to become the first black woman to enter Tate’s permanent collection in 1987.

Last year, she represented Britain at the Venice Biennale art exhibition – the first black woman to do so.

Her exhibition, Feel Her Way, was awarded the coveted Golden Lion.

On the experience, Boyce said: “I’m really confused about what’s emerged about Venice.

I just thought, ‘I really feel the weight of history right now’Sonia Boyce

“From the very beginning was asked to be the Booth, and then was awarded the Golden Lion.

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“And I remember, I was on stage and thinking, ‘I don’t know what’s going on right now’.”

She added: “This comes from being the first, on the steps of the British Gallery, and seeing hundreds of people queuing up to see the show. It broke me.

“I just think, ‘I really feel the weight of history right now’.”

Boyce chose eight tracks to take with him to the island, including Is That Jazz by Gil Scott-Heron, Put Your Records On by Corinne Bailey Rae and Wolf And Leopards by Dennis Brown.

She chose champagne as a luxury item to bring to the island.

Desert Island Discs airs on BBC Sounds and BBC Radio 4 at 11:15am on Sundays. Sonia Boyce on using art to ‘handle’ childhood trauma

Fry Electronics Team

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