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Artist Sonia Boyce, who represented Great Britain at the Venice Biennale last year, has received a damehood in the King’s UK New Years Honours list for 2024 while Brian Clarke, has been awarded a knighthood, the first stained glass artist to receive such an accolade.
Boyce, who was born in London in 1962, came to prominence in the early 1980s as a key figure in the burgeoning Black Arts Movement with pastel drawings and photo collages that addressed issues of race and gender. Since the 1990s she has made multimedia, improvisational work, bringing people together in a social, performative practice that incorporates film, photography, print, installation and sound.
Asked how it felt to be the first Black woman occupying the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale (Feeling Her Way), she told The Art Newspaper: “It’s shocking in 2022 to be the first in that instance. I shouldn’t be the first and it shouldn’t seem like a massive step. It’s just extraordinary that it’s taken this long and there are many artists who should have been considered along the way.” The British Pavilion won the Golden Lion for best national exhibition.
Brian Clarke’s current exhibition, A Great Light is running at Newport Street Gallery, London (until 7 January 2024).The show, presented by HENI, marked Clarke’s 70th birthday this year and presents works dating from 2002 to the present day.
Since the 1970s, Oldham-born Clarke has subverted the notion of stained glass as a religious art through various innovations, including the fabrication of freestanding stained glass panels devoid of lead. His work can be found in the permanent collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, Corning Museum of Glass, New York, and Tate.
The artist Catherine Goodman, who co-founded the Royal Drawing School in 2000 with HRH The Prince of Wales (King Charles III) in Shoreditch, east London, was made a CBE (commander of the order of the British Empire).
Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery in London, was made an OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire); he oversaw the £41.3m three-year renovation of the NPG which has been widely acclaimed.
Our preview of the revamped gallery earlier this year highlighted how “Cullinan’s vision of a beautiful NPG has not involved erecting a spanking new wing but stripping away a lot of clutter to rediscover the splendour of the original 1893 design by its first director, Sir George Scharf”.
Other OBE recipients include Elaine Bedell, the chief executive of the Southbank Centre; Chris Blandford, the president of World Heritage UK; the philanthropist Mildred Palley who has supported institutions such as the NPG, and Nick Merriman, chief executive of the Horniman Museum and Gardens which won the Art Fund’s Museum of the Year Award 2022. In October Merriman was named chief executive of English Heritage, the National Heritage Collection of over 400 historic buildings, monuments and sites across England.
The fashion designer, furniture maker and artist Samuel Ross, who had an exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey in London earlier this year, received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire). Nathaniel Hepburn, the director of Charleston, the rural retreat of the Bloomsbury Group in East Sussex, was also awarded an MBE.