This morning it was announced that Simone Leigh will represent America at the postponed Venice Biennale 2022, making her the first Black American woman to do so. Leigh's work explores the Black female experience, spanning the fields of race, history and gender. Currently, Leigh's 16 foot tall bronze bust of a black woman with braids is installed on Manhattan's High Line, and her Biennale show is set to be equally monumental. Working across sculpture, performance, video and ceramics, for the Biennale Leigh will create a monumental bronze sculpture for the U.S Pavilion's outdoor forecourt.
She commented in a statement posted to her Instagram: 'To be the first Black American woman to occupy the American Pavilion for the 58th La Biennale di Venezia is a great honor. I acknowledge the paradox of my position during this time when the depth of white supremacy in America is in full view. I also recognize that this is a time when black artists and intellectuals of the diaspora are flourishing and have reached critical mass.'
Leigh added that her show will engage with the work of Black feminist thinkers, who themselves are engaging with American culture and it's democracy. Inside the Pavilion's five galleries, other work in ceramic, bronze and raffia will be installed, all key materials in Leigh's work. The residency will be followed by an ICA exhibition in 2023.