Of German Jamaican Parentage brought up in England, China and Cyprus Sonia Elizabeth Barrett has an international range of cultural influences. A graduate of St Andrews University where she studied Philosophy, Literature and International Relations and the Transart Institute (MFA) Sonia has shown her work at the NGBK Berlin, the OCCA California, the Format Follow Contemporary in Milan, The Museum of the Sea in Italy and the National Gallery in Jamaica. She has been featured in a number of publications including the The International Review of African American Art, the newspaper of the Deutsche Kulturrat. Her work has been received prizes including the Premio Ora in Italy and the showcase for the category of sculpture for ARTslant. She is a McDowell Fellow and was recently been awarded a travel and studio stipend to travel with Goethe Institute and Bayreuth University to Uganda.
Why is it that even today we persist in treating people as objects an animals as an amalgam that is less than these? Using furniture and leather I have been exploring the boundaries of personhood the animal and the object state. Making sculptures videos and performing using 18th century tropical hardwood furniture but also furnishings from the dollar store. I have been considering how to elevate the person from and object/animal state and then the considering the value of recognising your object/animal state. I wonder how can we sit and have so many people support us so intimately and not care about those people (who are like our furniture). I also wonder how we can claim power and joy in the face of subjection without the use of a journey narrative that is so common among the suppressed.
I am especially interested in gut feminisim, eco-therapy, capitalism, empathy, queer phenomenology, diasporic practices and objectification. The theorists that have most informed my practice are Sylvia White, Spivak, Fanon and Arendt. I have read widely at university level taking courses in International Relations, French, Philosophy and English Literature. I can draw on readings from all of these fields for my own practice and in supporting the practice of others.
furniture, the furnished life, sitting, yoga, eco therapy, objectification, diaspora, feminism, black feminist standpoints, post capitalist structures, queer phenomenology, slavery, empathy, joy, escape narratives, labour.