Audio Documentaries and Features

Black Art Matters

Sonia Boyce

Sonia Boyce by Maya Bailey

Sonia Boyce reassesses the work of her friend and colleague, artist Donald Rodney, and his influence on British black art today.

Donald Rodney, considered one of the most exciting talents of his generation in the 1980s and 90s, never lived to fulfil his potential. Now,  Sonia meets some of the people he left behind, and those reviving and curating his work for contemporary audiences.

Donald Rodney often talked of a clock ticking. A sufferer of sickle cell disease, he had a life expectancy of only 36 years. He died in 1998 after packing a furious amount into a short life. Part of the BLK art group and a new wave of Black British Artists out of the art schools, his work was political, challenging, innovative and smart.

Donald Rodney

Donald Rodney by Eddie Chambers

Sonia, who knew Rodney well, unearths the creative, the personal and the political in what is often an emotional journey into her friend and fellow artist’s life. Before he died, Donald started work on Auto Icon, an early digital life that enables a virtual conversation with Donald through diary notes, images and sound bites, which offers snatched glimpses into the work, the artist and his collaborators.

Presented by Sonia Boyce on BBC Radio 4 – June 29th, 11.30am
Producer: Michael Clifford

In the House of My Father by Donald Rodney

In the House of My Father by Donald Rodney (made using his own skin). Courtesy of the Donald Rodney Estate

The House that Jack Built

The House that Jack Built by Donald Rodney. Courtesy of Museums Sheffield. Photo Andy Keate