Open House: Sonia E. Barrett

Updated: Jun 30

Open House: Sonia E. Barrett Preview: Friday 2nd July, 13h - 20h (drinks from 16h - 20h)

Open House continues until the 12th July (10h - 17h daily) Please RSVP mary@zeldaart.com for address details.

Arcade x ZELDA invite you to Open House: Sonia E. Barrett, an installation of new and recent works by the artist Sonia E. Barrett in a domestic space in Queens Gardens, Bayswater.

Barrett’s multi-disciplinary practice reworks found materials and objects like maps, furniture, and rocks to form and perform sculptural interventions at varying scales. Envisaged as a response to her CARICKUK and Royal Geographical Society commission Dreading the Map, 2021, made with surplus maps from areas of triangular trade by a map-lective of Black and Brown women using Black hair techniques, the works shown in Open House will seek to provide a further context for it within Barrett’s wider practice.

(Image: DK Griffiths)

A selection of Barrett’s ongoing series of figurative sculptures resurrected from furniture in the colonial style (and beyond) will be in direct conversation with the domestic, Victorian setting of Open House. These sculptures are an intervention in the furnished spaces of multi-generational European wealth dating back to the eighteenth Century. They refer to the great estates in the UK, the USA, and the Caribbean that have formed a core part of Barrett’s research. Her process involves sitting with furniture that is made of trees ripped from the tropics and shipped in the same ways that people were in triangular trade. The works are often ‘corpse popping’ – expanding the ideas of what passes for the living and what can be mourned. They reveal comfortable spaces uncomfortably, disrupting the furnished rest that happened in them.

Through a variety of platforms, ZELDA aims to raise awareness of underrepresented artistic practices.

Open House is the second collaboration between Arcade and ZELDA, devised with the aim of providing opportunities to artists without commercial representation to show their work, facilitating the audience and network building that is crucial to sustaining a professional art practice.


Sonia E. Barrett performs composites of plants, animals, elements, and people to create interventions that present their objectification and commodification; she also thinks about how to change perceptions of phenomena in “nature” that are a given. The work seeks to create new questions where there was a kind of certainty that has to do with the hegemony of normative Western European values.

Her work unpacks the boundaries between the determined and the determining with a focus on race and gender. She makes sculptural works so she can run her hands along the fissures and manifest strategies for multiple compatible existences and mourn. Her sculptural practice includes place-making with a view to assembling communities under the threat of climate change to (Re-)claim space as well as instituting permanently.

Born in the UK of Jamaican and German parentage, Sonia E. Barrett grew up in Hong Kong, Zimbabwe, Cyprus, and the UK. She studied Literature at the University of St Andrews Scotland and her MFA at Transart Institute Berlin/New York. Sonia is a MacDowell fellow and has been recognised by the Premio Ora prize, NY Art-Slant showcase for sculpture, and the Neo Art Prize.

For further information please contact:

Mary Cork |mary@zeldaart.com

Kate Phillimore |kate@zeldaart.com

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