The stage is set for Leeds Art Gallery to host an internationally acclaimed exhibition showcasing the unique talents of five Black female musicians.
Sonia Boyce’s Feeling Her Way will open at the gallery on May 26 after winning the prestigious Golden Lion Award for Best National Participation while on display at the British Pavilion for La Biennale di Venezia in Italy in 2022.
The tour is first time the British Pavilion has ever toured outside La Biennale di Venezia, and following a display in Margate earlier this year, the upcoming Leeds show will be the only chance to see the exhibition in the north of England.
Through a combination of video, collage, music and sculpture, the exhibition centres around the voices of musicians Jacqui Dankworth, Poppy Ajudha, Sofia Jernberg, Tanita Tikaram, and composer Errollyn Wallen who were brought together by Boyce at London’s famous Abbey Road Studios and Atlantis Studios in Stockholm.
A series of colour-tinted video works will be displayed alongside Boyce’s signature tessellating wallpapers and eye-catching golden 3-D geometric structures.
Sonia Boyce, who began installing the exhibition in Leeds last week, said: “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.”
Feeling Her Way was originally commissioned by the British Council for the 59th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. The UK tour is supported by Art Fund.
The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion at the International Art and Architecture Exhibitions of La Biennale di Venezia since 1937, showcasing the best of the UK’s artists, architects, designers and curators.
Jane Bhoyroo, principal keeper, Leeds Art Gallery added: “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 Leeds exhibition has been supported by the British Council, Art Fund, Henry Moore Foundation, Arts Council England, Leeds City Council and is part of LEEDS 2023, the city’s Year of Culture.
It also expands on Boyce’s own Devotional Collection, an archive which honours the contribution of Black British female musicians to the lives of the public and to transnational culture.
Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Leeds City Council’s executive member for economy, culture and education, said: “We’re thrilled to be welcoming such an acclaimed and important exhibition to Leeds and adding to Leeds Art Gallery’s exceptional and imaginative programme.
“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 at Leeds Art Gallery from May 26, with the exhibition running until November 5. The exhibition is free to visit.
Sonia Boyce’s British Council Commission for the British Pavilion ran at the Venice Biennale from April 23 until November 27 2022. It was commissioned by Emma Dexter, British Council Director Visual Arts, and curated by Emma Ridgway, Shane Akeroyd Associate Curator. The commission toured to Turner Contemporary, Margate from 4 February – 7 May 2023.