Leigh is best known for her sculptural practice, which incorporates materials and figures associated with African and diasporic art into explorations of Black womanhood. For the U.S. pavilion, she will create a number of works in bronze, ceramic, and raffia, including a monumental bronze sculpture situated in the pavilion’s forecourt. She will also partner with the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective, a program focused on developing the careers of Black curators, art historians, and museum professionals. The partnership will see young professionals in these fields have the chance to collaborate with Leigh during preparation for the Biennale.
Leigh has received widespread institutional acclaim over the course of her career. She has received solo exhibitions at the Guggenheim Museum
in New York, the Hammer Museum
in Los Angeles, the Studio Museum in Harlem
, and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
in Arkansas, among others. She is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards and accolades, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a Creative Capital grant, a Blade of Grass fellowship, the Studio Museum in Harlem's Joyce Alexander Wein Artist Prize, the Guggenheim Museum's Hugo Boss Prize, and a United States Artists fellowship. Her work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum of American Art
, the Guggenheim, the Art Institute of Chicago
, and the ICA Boston. In 2023, the ICA will put on Leigh’s first survey exhibition, which will feature works from the Venice Biennale.
The Venice Biennale announcement is the most recent development in a remarkable year for Leigh who joined Hauser & Wirth
’s artist roster in January. Meanwhile, a Sotheby’s auction in March saw the record-breaking sale of Leigh’s 2015 sculpture, DECATUR (COBALT)
, which sold for well over four times its high estimate at $337,500. According to Artsy data, interest in Leigh’s work on the platform has steadily increased, with annual inquiries nearly doubling year over year between 2016 and 2018.