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    Sonia Boyce MBE elected as Royal Academician

    The Royal Academy of Arts has elected Middlesex University’s Professor of Fine Arts Sonia Boyce as a Royal Academician in the category of Painting.

    Prof Sonia Boyce MBE

    Professor Sonia Boyce MBE is a British Afro-Caribbean artist who lives and works in London. She studied at Stourbridge College, West Midlands and her early work addressed issues of race and gender in the media and in day-to-day life. She expressed these themes through large pastel drawings and photographic collages.

    Her work has since shifted materially and conceptually by incorporating a variety of media such as photographs, collages, films, prints, drawings, installation and sound.

    She is represented in the permanent collections of Arts Council England and Tate Modern, London. In 2007, Boyce was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to the arts. As well as her role as Professor of Fine Arts at Middlesex University she is also Professor of Black Art and Design at University of the Arts London (UAL).

    Professor Hilary Robinson, Dean of the School of Art and Design at Middlesex University said: “This is the highest level of peer review and esteem in the field, with only 80 RAs at any one time.

    “Sonia will be joining artists such as David Hockney, Tracey Emin, and Anthony Gormley, we are very proud of her achievements and of this public recognition of her work.”

    The Royal Academy of Arts is governed by 80 Royal Academicians who are all practising painters, sculptors, engravers, printmakers, draughtsmen and architects from whom they elect a President. Elections are held at regular meetings of the General Assembly, when new Members are voted in by existing Royal Academicians.

    Professor Paul Haywood, School of Art and Design Deputy Dean added: “This is a true testament to Sonia’s many achievements and to the quality of professional respect that she has garnered over the course of her career. All of her colleagues and friends in the School of Art and Design are rightly proud of her. She is an inspiration and a motivational role model to so many of our students.”

    Professor Sonia Boyce is also one of the founders of the Black Artists and Modernism Project (BAM).

    This is a three-year research project led by UAL in partnership with Middlesex University and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). The main aim of BAM is to highlight the critical role Black British artists have made and are continuing to make in twentieth and twenty-first century art.

    This contribution is too often marginalised or erased in collective memory and modern art criticism. Public discussion or academic discourse around Black British artists frequently focuses primarily on their ethnic or political identity, rather than their place within wider art or cultural movements.

    Professor Boyce and her colleagues are aiming to overturn this collective ‘amnesia’ by reassessing  and documenting the art-works of British artists of African or Asian descent, held in public art collections across the UK.

    More information about Professor Sonia Boyce can be found on the Royal Academy of Arts website.

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