United States of America 2022, 23 Apr 2022 — 27 Nov 2022
National Participations

United States of America 2022

Simone Leigh: Sovereignty

Giardini, Castello, 30122, Venice, Italy

Title: Sovereignty
Commissioner: Jill Medvedow, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Curator: Eva Respini, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
Exhibitor: Simone Leigh

ICA Boston selected Simone Leigh as the first Black female artist to represent the United States of America at La Biennale di Venezia. For the Pavilion, Leigh has created a new series of figurative sculptures in bronze and ceramic that further her commitment to highlighting narratives behind race, gender, labour, and monuments, reclaiming powerful roles for black women. By doing this, the artist is bringing the first figurative representation at the USA pavilion in many years, including a monumental bronze sculpture for the pavilion’s outdoor forecourt.

Drawing upon artistic traditions from within Africa and the African diaspora, Leigh uses a strategy that she terms “the creolization of form,” merging disparate cultural languages linked through histories of colonization. With these works, Leigh weaves together references to 19th century West African art, the material culture of early Black Americans, and the colonial history of international expositions. Through her process, Leigh makes transformative works that propose new frames of reference. Venice, with its centuries-long history of trade and cultural exchange, as well its tradition of honoring artisan skill, provides an apt backdrop for Leigh’s project.

Leigh’s exhibition at La Biennale foresees a major project called Loophole of Retreat: Venice. The project brings together scholars, artists, and activists from around the world for a three-day symposium centred on Black women’s intellectual and creative labour.

Contacts & Details


Apr 23 – Sept 25 Tue – Sun, 11am – 7pm
Sept 27 – Nov 27 Tue – Sun, 10am – 6pm


Giardini, Castello, 30122, Venice, Italy
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