Phoebe Boswell

Phoebe Boswell (b. 1982, Kenya) currently lives and works in London. She was born in Nairobi to a Kikuyu mother and fourth generation British Kenyan father, and brought up as an “expatriate” in the Middle East before coming to London. Her history – her identity – is rooted in transient middle points and passages of migration, and her trajectory is always anchored to a personal exploration of “home.” Boswell studied Painting at the Slade School of Art and 2D Animation at Central St Martins, London. In London she has exhibited at Carroll / Fletcher, Kristin Hjellegjerde, the Royal Academy, Bonhams, and the Mall Galleries. Her animation work has been nominated for awards including Best Student Film in the Bradford Animation Festival, Best Animation in Rushes Soho Shorts, and Best Film twice in the British Animation Awards Public Choice. In 2012 Boswell was nominated/shortlisted for the Art Foundation’s Animation Fellowship and was the first recipient of the Sky Academy Arts Scholarship. She was a Florence Trust 2015 Artist-in-Residence.

The Matter of Memory, 2014
Installation, variable dimensions
Courtesy of the artist

Phoebe Boswell’s The Matter of Memory is an immersive multimedia installation, drawn from conversations with both her parents about their memories of Kenya. The audience is invited to explore Boswell’s grandmother’s colonial “living room,” discovering hidden narratives within the fabric of this intimate space, personal narratives that relate to memory, family, and love. These narratives, however, also speak of wider themes concerning place; they explore the brutalities of Kenya’s colonial past and admit the historical burdens passed down through generations, ultimately shaping the artist’s identity and delicate sense of belonging. She combines traditional draftsmanship and digital technology to create drawings, animations, and installations that form a language communicating global, fragmented narratives such as her own; narratives that cannot be easily explained – contained – in a single image, or a single screen film.


The Matter of Memory, 2014, Installation view Hasselblad Center, GIBCA 2015. Photo: Hendrik Zeitler