The award-winning British-Caribbean interdisciplinary artist and academic Sonia Boyce is exhibiting a site-specific installation at Galleria d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea (GAMeC) in Bergamo. The exhibition is part of the Gallery's two-year project Thinking Like a Mountain, where several renowned visual artists have been invited to create and exhibit works which are informed by the history and culture of the city of Bergamo.

Boyce's installation Benevolence is on view in the prestigious Sala della Capriate at the Palazzo della Raggione, located in the heart of Città Alta in Bergamo. Inspired by the musical heritage of the city which gave classical music the bergamasca, a type of dance originating from the region, Boyce entered into a collaboration with students of Gaetano Donizetti Higher Institute of Musical Studies in Bergamo. The artist focused on working with popular songs sung by the Alpini during the First World War and songs of the Resistance from the Second World War such as “Bella Ciao”, which have become a symbol of global and transgenerational resistance.

Boyce's interest in the concept of “acoustic memory” has induced her to expound, through Benevolence, on perceptions of collective memory and the power that singing has as a vehicle of resistance and hope. As she directs the students to sing songs unaccompanied on the balconies, streets and piazzas of Città Alta, Boyce reflects upon the meaning of music, its value over time, and the unseen power that it has to unite people, but also to divide them.

Boyce intersperses images of the Bergamo Alps with urban scenes in order to draw our attention to the relation that binds together the environment with local traditions. The videos were shot last autumn at Piazza Vecchia in Sala Tassiana at the Angelo Mai Library, and the San Michele all'Arco book tower. Brought together in six visual moments, Boyce subtly juxtaposes public and private aspects of these spaces, contrasting their alternating functions as places of governance but also of secrecy and intimacy.

Sonia Boyce has been at the forefront of the Black Arts movement in the UK since the early 1980s, when she stepped onto the scene with a series of pastel drawings and photo collages addressing issues of race and gender. In 2022, Boyce received a commission for the British Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, for which she was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation.

Benevolence is on display at the Palazzo della Raggione until September 22, 2024. Boyce's works are currently being exhibited at the Drawing Room in London, Lyon Museum of Contemporary Art, and Royal West of England Academy. For more information about Boyce's installation, visit the Gallery site.

The link has been copied!