Leeds Art Gallery is gearing up to showcase an internationally renowned exhibition featuring the exceptional talents of five Black female musicians. Titled “Feeling Her Way” and created by Sonia Boyce, the exhibition will open its doors on May 26th, following its triumphant display at the British Pavilion for La Biennale di Venezia in Italy, where it won the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best National Participation in 2022.
This groundbreaking tour marks the first time the British Pavilion has ventured beyond La Biennale di Venezia. Having already made a stop in Margate earlier this year, the upcoming show in Leeds presents the sole opportunity to experience the exhibition in northern England.
Boasting a captivating blend of video, collage, music, and sculpture, “Feeling Her Way” revolves around the voices of musicians Jacqui Dankworth, Poppy Ajudha, Sofia Jernberg, Tanita Tikaram, and composer Errollyn Wallen. Boyce brought these remarkable talents together at London’s renowned Abbey Road Studios and Atlantis Studios in Stockholm.
The exhibition will feature a series of color-tinted video works alongside Boyce’s distinctive tessellating wallpapers and eye-catching golden 3-D geometric structures.
Expressing her delight, Sonia Boyce, who began installing the exhibition in Leeds last week, shared, “I am delighted that Feeling Her Way will be showing at Leeds Art Gallery as part of the UK tour. Leeds is a city that I’ve had a longstanding relationship with. I love the vibrancy of its music scene and its history of experimental art-making – and I hope this work contributes to that legacy.”
Originally commissioned by the British Council for the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, “Feeling Her Way” is supported by Art Fund during its UK tour.
Since 1937, the British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion at the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia, providing a platform to showcase the finest artists, architects, designers, and curators from the UK.
Jane Bhoyroo, the principal keeper at Leeds Art Gallery, expressed her enthusiasm, stating, “We are thrilled to be working with Sonia Boyce and the British Council to present Feeling Her Way in Leeds. The opportunity to bring this moving and inspiring installation to the city will enable our diverse audiences to experience this major work by one of the UK’s most distinguished artists.”
The exhibition in Leeds is supported by the British Council, Art Fund, Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Council England, Leeds City Council, and forms part of LEEDS 2023, the city’s Year of Culture.
“Feeling Her Way” also expands on Boyce’s Devotional Collection, an archive that pays tribute to the significant contributions made by Black British female musicians to the public and transnational culture.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture, and education, expressed his excitement, stating, “We’re thrilled to be welcoming such an acclaimed and important exhibition to Leeds and adding to Leeds Art Gallery’s exceptional and imaginative program. As we celebrate our LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity for the gallery to give a unique spotlight to the exciting and diverse artists whose work is enriching contemporary art.”
“Feeling Her Way” will be on display at Leeds Art Gallery from May 26th to November 5th, and admission to the exhibition is free.
Sonia Boyce’s British Council Commission for the British Pavilion ran at the Venice Biennale from April 23rd to November 27th, 2022. The commission, curated by Emma Ridgway, Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator, was commissioned by Emma Dexter, British Council Director Visual Arts. Following its display in Venice, the commission toured to Turner Contemporary in Margate from February 4th to May 7th, 2023.