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Meet the First Black Woman to Represent the U.S. at the Art World’s Biggest Fair

Black Women in Arts

Meet the First Black Woman to Represent the U.S. at the Art World’s Biggest Fair

By Nora McGreevy via

Simone Leigh, whose large-scale ceramics explore black female subjectivity, will exhibit her work at the 2022 Venice Biennale

Come April 2022, sculptor Simone Leigh will represent the United States at the 59th iteration of the art world’s most prestigious exhibition: the Venice Biennale. Leigh, whose works explore notions of beauty, strength, colonialism and black womanhood, is the first African American woman to hold the coveted position.

Leigh, 52, works from her Brooklyn studio, where she creates commanding, larger-than-life ceramic sculptures that probe and celebrate the labor of black women. The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (ICA), which is sponsoring the U.S. pavilion, and the Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, announced the artist’s selection …

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I am a future butterfly at the stage of growth when I am turning into an adult. I am enclosed in a hard case shell formed by love, family, and friends. It is the hardest stage of becoming a black butterfly. You will encounter many hardships only to come out stronger and better than what you went in. At this stage, you are finding out who you truly are and how to love yourself.

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