Sonya Dyer - Three Parent Child
Somerset House Studios

Sonya Dyer: Three Parent Child

29 Sep - 12 Nov 2023
Mon, Tue, Wed, Sat, Sun 10.00 -18.00
Thu & Fri 12.00 - 21.00
River Rooms
New Wing

Somerset House Studios resident Sonya Dyer presents a new commission, marking the artist's first solo exhibition in London.

The installation, Three Parent Child, is the final stage of Dyer’s Andromeda trilogy, as part of her ongoing project Hailing Frequencies Open. HFO reimagines the history and radical potential of human space travel, exploring the intersections between scientific enquiry and science fiction. Sonya weaves influences including Star Trek, the legacy of HeLa cells, and mythology, to engage with ongoing conversations around monumentalism, memory and the role of speculation. 

Three Parent Child comprises two works. Action > Potential is a two-channel moving image work centring Andromeda, the personified galaxy and constellation that shares its name with the Aiethiopian Princess Andromeda in Greek mythology. In Sonya’s work, Andromeda metaphorically embodies the reclamation of the neglected stories of Black women of science and mythology. In Action>Potential, Andromeda is trying to return home to her galaxy after unexpectedly finding herself in a science lab, where she comes across a rogue mitochondria named Lucy. 

Lucy is a large scale sculpture of the aforementioned rogue mitochondria, mutating throughout the three River Room spaces and transforming into something new altogether. Lucy forms the last in a series of space vessel sculptures named after three enslaved women experimented on by a notorious 19th century US gynaecologist.

The title Three Parent Child takes its name from the recent scientific development of Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT), a new technique that incorporates DNA from three people to create a child, which mirrors Dyer’s adherence to trilogies throughout her practice. Whilst in residence at the Studios, Sonya Dyer’s research has been supported as part of the King’s College London x Somerset House Studios Programme.

Commissioned by Somerset House and developed in residence at Somerset House Studios. Supported by Cockayne Grants for the Arts, a donor advised fund held at The London Community Foundation.