chapter  8
Biography and spatial experience in contemporary diasporic art in Britain
Pages 17

I begin with these remarks since I find them a particularly resonant lever for a chapter that attempts to prise open ideas about how biographical facts and spatial experience may be mapped within an arena of contemporary diasporic art in Britain, in a way that dislocates the essentialising conventions of cultural and ethnic identity politics prevalent in much of the critical literature that still accrues to this topic despite vast paradigmatic shifts in other areas of the discipline.2 Just over ten years ago Sonia Boyce already voiced her frustration with the category of ‘black art’ for example, when, in an extended interview entitled ‘The Art of Identity’ (1992), she remarked that:

. . .Whatever we black people do, it is said to be about identity, first and foremost. It becomes a blanket term for everything we do, regardless of what we’re doing . . . I don’t say it should be abandoned, but am I only able to talk about who I am? . . . [Am I] not able to say anything else? If I speak, I speak ‘as a’ black woman artist or ‘as a black woman’ or ‘as a black person’. I always have to name who I am. I’m constantly put in that position, required to talk in that place . . . never allowed to speak because I speak . . .3