Sonia E. Barrett: Sculpting More Community

alpha nova & galerie futura, Berlin, Germany
13 Nov 2023 - 13 Jan 2024

Sonia E. Barrett, Dreading the Map, The Royal Geographical Society London, 2021. Foto: Oliver Barrett

Sonia E. Barrett, Dreading the Map, The Royal Geographical Society London, 2021. Foto: Oliver Barrett

With the project Sculpting More Community, artist Sonia E. Barrett, together with a group of co-creators, creates an expansive, site specific installation out of paper maps that focuses on community and self-empowerment and interrogates the colonial division of the world.

Maps materialize and form our image and knowledge of the world. They simplify and generalize, and therefore cannot be understood as depictions of an objective reality, but always implicitly political. Maps have a powerful influence in that they define spaces, conditions, and relationships, produce inclusions and exclusions, and have been strategically deployed beyond the time of European colonization. Artist Sonia E. Barrett’s project Sculpting More Community appropriates the map as an object and material, using it as the basis for moments of collectivity and exchange.

Beginning with a workshop by and for Black women and women of color a community sculpture is created from approximately 40 shredded paper maps. The maps, some of which are antiquarian, bear witness to the Western hegemonic division of the world, which has its origins in European powers’ colonization and oppression of many regions in the world since the fifteenth century and whose disastrous consequences of racism, social inequality, and rigid nation-state border regimes define the post-colonial present. The act of shredding maps and self-determinedly remaking them into a sculpture, which both literally and figuratively functions as a large network, makes space and time to re-imagine/ re-configure maps and by implication the worlds that produce them.

Based on practices of care and beauty, which in communities of Black women often braid or dreadlock hair connected with exchange and conversation, the participants operate beyond the constraints of dominant beauty norms; maps are braided instead of hair, creating a space where experiences, knowledge and skills are shared and other ways of being and knowing are practiced.

The exhibition will be discursively expanded through a supporting program of conversations and presentations that critically analyzes (urban) infrastructures in terms of racism and sexism and explores decolonial strategies.

Of German Jamaican Parentage brought up in England, China and Cyprus, Sonia Elizabeth Barrett is a graduate of St Andrews University and the Transart Institute (both UK). Sonia is a MacDowell fellow and recipient of the Boss Harlan Foundation stipend. Her work has been shown at a number of galleries including the OCCCA California, the nGbk Berlin, The Format Contemporary in Milan and the Rosenwald Wolf Gallery Philadelphia the Museum of Derby and the British Library she has been recognised by the Premio Ora prize, NY Art Slant showcase for sculpture and the Neo Art Prize. www.sebarrett.net


alpha nova & galerie futura
Am Flutgraben 3, 12435 Berlin



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