A multi-coloured list of names and dates appear totem-like in Devotional, a print by Sonia Boyce. She accumulated them over several years from conversations with different people about their favourite black female singers. These range from the jazz singer Elizabeth Welch, presented at the top of the work in the pre-1960s section, to Yazz in the 1980s and Lisa Maffia in the 'noughties'. Listing them vertically 1 to 84, Boyce creates a colourful object, offering a different perspective of popular music. The interaction with other people in producing this piece is a crucial part of the working process for Boyce, who views her works as collaborations with members of the public.
In 2005 Boyce produced Devotional II, (see GAC 18064) which was installed in the European Union Headquarters at the newly renovated Berlaymont building in Brussels. A reworking of Devotional, it extends nine metres high on an internal column, and spans a height of three floors. Totem-like, its physical presence and array of colours make it highly visible to everyone using the building.
Sonia Boyce studied art at East Ham College and Stourbridge College of Art until 1983. Since the mid 1980s she has exhibited widely in the UK and abroad, and several monographs about her work have been published in recent years. In March 2004 she was awarded the Nesta Three Year Fellowship.
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