Phoebe Boswell

The Call

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Year 2021
Medium Pencil on paper
Dimensions 29.7 x 35 cm
Nominated by Hannah O'Leary

About the work

The Call is one of the first in what extended into a capsule of drawings created between December 2020 and April 2021, while Phoebe Boswell was sequestered during the UK’s third government-mandated national lockdown. Using drawing as a way to pass the time, sense herself, and process the year we have had, the personal and the everyday transformed from diaristic snapshots of Boswell’s life in lockdown: self-portraits drawn via the digital interfaces we have been using to stay connected; screenshots and memes captured as if mid-scroll; solitary scenes of long, empty corridors, wilted flowers, and numerous drawings of the same sky seen from Boswell’s apartment window. In The Call, drawn from life (if we can call the now over-familiar Zoom screen ‘life’), Boswell wanted to accentuate the intermingled feelings of fatigue, dread, grief, fear, horror, and languishing numbness that we have all been growing accustomed to, extending the themes of portraiture, technology, grief, memory, identity and resilience that her wider practice has long explored.

About the artist:

Born 1982 Kenya, Phoebe Boswell lives and works in London. Graduated from Painting at the Slade School of Art (2005); and 2D Animation at Central St Martins (2009).

Boswell makes work anchored to a restless state of diasporic consciousness. Combining draftswomanship and digital technology, she creates immersive installations and bodies of work which layer drawing, animation, sound, video, and interactivity in an effort to find new languages robust yet open and multifaceted enough to house, centre, and amplify voices and histories which, like her own, are often systemically marginalised or sidelined as ‘other’.

Her works are held in public and private collections including the UK Government Art Collection and The Studio Museum, New York.

Selected solo exhibitions include Here, New Art Exchange, Nottingham (2021); HERE, Goteborgs Konsthall, Gothenburg (2019); The Space Between Things, Autograph ABP, London (2018-19); For Every Real Word Spoken, Tiwani Gallery, London (2017); The Matter of Memory, Circle Arts, Nairobi (2016); Solo Exhibition, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2016); The Lizards Within Us, FourFOLD Enclave, London (2015); REPRESENT, Al Riwaq Gallery, Bahrain (2007); and Bahrainona, Bahrain National Museum, Bahrain (2007). Selected group exhibitions include Biennale of Moving Image, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2016); What About Africa?, Witteveen Visual Art Centre, Amsterdam (2016); Biennial of Moving Images Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva (2016); Gothenburg International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2015); Art15,with Iniva, Olympia, London (2015); Trade Roots, Kristin Hjellegjerde Gallery, London (2014); The Matter of Memory, Carroll / Fletcher Gallery, London (2014); British Animation Awards, National Film Theatre, London (2010); Royal Academy Summer Show, Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); and Inspired Art Fair, The Bridge, London (2005). Public artworks include PLATFORM (2020), commissioned and produced by the Fonds cantonal d’art contemporain, Geneva, for the Mire Program, at Lancy-Bachet Railway Station in Geneva (2020).

Awards include a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Award for Artists (2019); the Bridget Riley Drawing Fellow at the British School at Rome (2018-19); and Future Generation Art Prize, Special Prize as part of the Collateral Events programme at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017). Boswell is a Ford Foundation Fellow.

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