Thirteen Ways of Looking

Thirteen Artists and Curators show why one perspective is never enough.

By The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

The work of 13 artists and curators at different stages of their careers are brought together. They bring forth varied and multifaceted views resisting containment to one-sided perspectives. The title is inspired by a poem by Wallace Stevens. 

Dhee Kahani (Daughter's Tale) View 3The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

The exhibition explores different strategies of resistance that overlap and intersect in the gallery and online. Challenging where art belongs, where it’s experienced and who is addressed.   

Farwa Moledina’s work is concerned with the lived experiences of Muslim women. This piece explores the erasure that Muslim women have faced throughout history. The title ‘Thawra’ means ‘Revolution’.    

Thawra / ثورة View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Thawra / ثورة View 2, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Thawra / ثورة View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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The term ‘Thawra’ gained notoriety in the protests of the Arab Spring in the early 2010s. The work comprises a pattern woven through columns of gold thread.  An unwoven outline of Alaa Salah, one of many Sudanese women leading protests against the Sudanese government in April 2019, is central to the work.    

‘Virtual Exiles’ by Roshini Kempadoo investigates the experiences of persons who have left their country of origin and who are now at ‘home’ in another. Engaging archival and contemporary photographs of Guyana.    

Virtual Exiles View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

The work explores Kempadoo’s status as refugee/exile/expatriate/emigre in relation to her country of birth, England, and her country of origin and upbringing, Guyana.    

Virtual Exiles View 2The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

'Mooove…[s] - In solidarity' was created by Kempadoo during the UK spring lockdown as a result of COVID19 and response to online consciousness as debate.

Moove...[s] In solidarity View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Moove...[s] In solidarity View 2, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Moove...[s] In solidarity View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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 A response to activism and artworks about black lives, violence and racism which were circulated by an international - mostly younger generation. “This body is consumed and rocked by sadness, anger and heartbreak as I hear of killings and brutality – by police, by politicians’ lack of caring, by abhorrent cronyism, by white privilege.Roshini Kempadoo        

5:22 PM View 1, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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5:22 PM View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Navi Kaur's '5:22pm' comprises two short films that place narratives of minoritized voices at their centre - in this case the Punjabi traditions housed in modern day Britain. The work is inspired by the lives of Kaur’s grandparents. It shows their daily routines and their dedication to their Sikh faith, despite being unable to visit the Gurdwara during the lockdown period.    

Hira Butt’s 'Dhee Kahani (Daughter's Tale)' explores the place of South Asian women within marital and domestic spaces.    

Dhee Kahani (Daughter's Tale) View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

This work developed as a result of personal experience and conversations with married Pakistani women during a recent trip to Pakistan by the artist.    

Dhee Kahani (Daughter's Tale) View 2The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Dhee Kahani (Daughter's Tale) View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Dhee Kahani (Daughter's Tale) View 4, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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The piece centres on golden bangles which are often gifted to Pakistani women on their wedding day, as a symbol of trust and value. Butt reworks these bangles, intertwining them with pieces of ‘dupatta’, an adorned red scarf that forms part of the bride’s traditional wedding attire.      

This show builds on the work of New Art West Midlands  and International Curators Forum 2017 Diaspora Pavilion at Venice Biennale supporting recently graduated and emerging artists from the West Midlands .    

Thirteen Ways of Looking' Gallery Shots Gallery View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

It showcases newly commissioned work by 6 artists from the West Midlands – Hira Butt, Andreana Fatta, Navi Kaur, Shiyi Li, Farwa Moledina, and Matías Serra Delmar.

Thirteen Ways of Looking' Gallery Shots Gallery View 4The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Matías Serra Delmar’s work references the raw materials found encircling construction sites in fast growing cities, such as the precarious constructions found in Buenos Aires, where he was born and raised.    

Matías Serra Delmar’s work as part of 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' La distancia con el mundoThe Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

For this exhibition Serra Delmar has created a number of site-specific installations that incorporate canvas paintings.    

Matías Serra Delmar’s work as part of 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' Painting in front of another paintingThe Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Matías Serra Delmar’s work as part of 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' We started to bond as a whole unit, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Matías Serra Delmar’s work as part of 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' 3 reasons why you should join a club, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Matías Serra Delmar’s work as part of 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' Unstructure 1, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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The artist seeks to break up the exhibition space and decentre the audience from the traditional utilisation of gallery spaces. The nature of the materials and the way that they have been assembled conveys the notion of something that is both ‘under construction’ and confused. Experimenting with the boundaries between installation and painting is central to Serra Delmar’s work.            

Keith Piper made 'THIRTEEN DEAD'  in response to the New Cross Fire of January 1981 in which 13 young black people lost their lives in an apparent act of racist violence. 

THIRTEEN DEADThe Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

This work featured in The Pan-Afrikan Connection, an exhibition by the Blk Art Group held at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in March 1983.    

THIRTEEN DEADThe Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

This show includes selected key artworks made by members of the Blk Art Group, Eddie Chambers, Keith Piper and Donald Rodney. The group has had a substantial impact on the visual arts in Britain. The selection highlights the group’s connections to Coventry... 

Thirteen Ways of Looking' Gallery Shots Gallery View 2The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Thirteen Ways of Looking' Gallery Shots Gallery View 5, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Thirteen Ways of Looking' Gallery Shots Gallery View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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... including the initial meeting of members Eddie Chambers and Keith Piper 40 years ago as students at Coventry University. The group provided a foundation upon which there emerged artists of South Asian, African and Afro-Caribbean descent, making artwork that formed part of the ‘Black Arts Movement’.         

Andreana Fatta’s work addresses the colonial history of Cyprus and how this has affected the culture and identity of the island’s citizens. Focusing on digitally archiving family footage and materials.    

Μια Aτελείωτη Συνομιλία (An Endless Conversation) View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Μια Aτελείωτη Συνομιλία (An Endless Conversation) View 4, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Μια Aτελείωτη Συνομιλία (An Endless Conversation) View 1, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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The research and artworks reflect Fatta’s experience of going through the United Nation’s Buffer Zone (or Green Line) in the capital Lefkosia, which remains the only divided capital in the world. The Buffer Zone/Green Line divides Cyprus into north and south. Alongside two films, a green line runs through the gallery space from east to west, mirroring that of the island. 

'Hailing Frequencies Open' by Sonya Dyer intersects the Greek myth of Andromeda, actor Nichelle Nichols’ (Star Trek’s Uhura) astronaut recruitment activism and the complex genesis of HeLa cells.

Hailing View 2The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

'Autoicon' is a dynamic internet work and CD-ROM that simulates both the physical presence and elements of the creative personality of the artist Donald Rodney, who died from sickle-cell anaemia.    

Auticon (2000) by Donald RodneyThe Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Flatness (2020) by Shama KhannaThe Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Flatness addresses the conditions of working semi-digitally and features artists from the exhibition. 

Sylvia Theuri has collaborated with Flatness exploring the website as a space of ‘decentring’ and challenging the traditional presentation of artwork in gallery spaces.    

Shiyi Li’s practice encompasses contemporary jazz music,  multi-screen animation projections and live art performance. ‘Dreamerfly’ consists of an animated film incorporating contemporary jazz music composed by James Owston.    

Dreamerfly View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Li’s work presents the narrative of a Chinese woman who has recently migrated to the UK, exploring the awakenings brought to her as a result.  This considers themes of struggle, loss, loneliness, balance, and rebirth.

Dreamerfly View 2The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Dreamerfly View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Dreamerfly View 5, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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Li was inspired by the ancient Chinese philosophical narrative ‘A Butterfly Dream’ by Chinese philosopher Chuang Tzu, which highlights tensions between illusion and reality.    

Hyphen-Labs uses objects and virtual reality (VR) as another dimension in which to tell stories and centre the experiences of women of colour. 

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism View 1The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

'NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (NSAF)' is a transmedia exploration told through speculative product design, emerging technologies, cognitive research, and transhumanism.    

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism View 2The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism View 5, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism View 3, From the collection of: The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum
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The work presents Black women as neuro-scientists using the space of the beauty salon as a revolutionary underground system for a fundamentally new shared exchange of ideas. With 'NSAF', Black women are the pioneers of brain optimization.       

NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism View 4The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Instead of ordinary braids, customers are fitted with transcranial electrodes, blending the physical with the digital. 
Hyphen-Labs presents a multi-layered possible future that transcends the constraints of the present.    

Thirteen Ways of Looking' Gallery Shots Gallery View 4The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum

Credits: Story

#13waysoflooking

An exhibition curated by Dr Sylvia Theuri.


A New Art West Midlands and International Curators Forum Curatorial Residency in partnership with and hosted by Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, in association with Coventry Biennial.
Image credit: Garry Jones 

The digital exhibition has been curated by Joy Corcec, Communications Officer at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum. 

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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