Sonia E Barrett performs composites of plants, animals, elements and people to create interventions that present their objectification and commodification. Barrett thinks about how to change perceptions of phenomena in “nature” that are a given. Her work seeks to create new questions that challenges any certainty around the hegemony of normative western European values.
Sonia E Barrett, Hand Gun (2019), 18th Century inkwells, field flint; photo: Damian Griffiths.
Born in the UK of Jamaican and German parentage, Barrett grew up in Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Cyprus and the UK. She studied literature at the University of St Andrews Scotland and her MFA at Transart Institute Berlin/New York.
Barrett’s work unpacks the boundaries between the Determined and the determining with a focus on race and gender. She makes sculptural works which enable her to run her hands along the fissures of the materials she works with, and manifest strategies for multiple compatible existences, and mourn. Her sculptural practice includes place making with a view to assembling communities under the threat of climate change, to (re)claim space, as well as instituting permanently.
Barrett is a MacDowell fellow and has been recognised by the Premio Ora prize, NY Art-Slant showcase for sculpture and the Neo Art Prize. She has exhibited with the National Gallery of Jamaica; 32 degrees East Gallery, Kampala, Uganda; the Heinrich Böll Institute Germany; the British Library; the Museum of Derby; and the Kunsthaus Nürnberg. Her work has been shown at a number of galleries including the OCCCA California; the NGBK Berlin; Tete Berlin; the Format Contemporary, Milan and Basel; and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery Philadelphia.
Her works have been published in the International Review of African American Art, Black History 365 Journal, Kunstforum International, Protocollum, ELSE Journal and the Contemporary & Platform. She is a co-initiator of the AIPCC in Bavaria.