We continue our short features on the artists in the Digital exhibition, which opens on Sunday, April 24, 2016:
Sonia E. Barrett is an artist of German-Jamaican parentage, who grew up in England, China and Cyprus. She is a graduate of the Transart Institute (MFA, 2009) and St Andrews University where she studied Philosophy, Literature and International Relations. She has exhibited in Germany, England, the USA, Ireland, Switzerland and Italy and Digital is her first exhibition in Jamaica. Her awards include the T.I.N.A. prize, Amsterdam (2015) and the Leon Levy Foundation grant (2014). Barrett lives and works in Germany.
About the Work
Barrett performs furniture as a way of accessing the objectification of people and experimenting with strategies of release from objectification. Using the yoga “chair pose” as a metaphor associated with balance but also with subjugation, as it reminds of the positioning of the body during Police arrests, the GIF in this exhibition was inspired by Phillip Whickstead’s Portrait of the Benjamin and Mary Pusey (c1775) from the National Gallery of Jamaica collection. Barrett writes: “The unnamed black protagonist in this painting has the same colour clothes as the furniture that is sat upon by Benjamin and Mary Pusey. He seems to be a part of the furniture, only as high as the chair [and] supporting the back of the empty chair, he is in a kind of chair pose.”