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Thirteen Ways of Looking

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

(© Shiyi Li, 2020)

The title of this exhibition is inspired by Wallace Stevens’ poem ‘Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird’ (1917). The thirteen verses of the poem each describe the presence and movement of a blackbird in a different way - creating multiple perspectives and viewpoints of the bird. The blackbird in the poem symbolises the importance of flexibility and fluidity in order to create space for multiple forms of experience, knowledge and understanding.

This exhibition borrows from Stevens’ approach, bringing together existing and newly commissioned artworks by thirteen artists and curators. Their working practices bring forward international, multicultural, multi-faith and feminist perspectives which shift very much like those of the blackbird in the poem.

Thirteen Ways of Looking explores different strategies of resistance that overlap and intersect in the physical spaces of the gallery and digitally online. They challenge where art belongs, where it’s experienced and who is being addressed.

The participating artists and curators are: Hira Butt, Eddie Chambers, Sonya Dyer, Andreana Fatta, Hyphen-Labs, Navi Kaur, Shama Khanna, Roshini Kempadoo, Shiyi Li, Farwa Moledina, Keith Piper, Donald Rodney and Matías Serra Delmar.

Read the digital Exhibition Catalogue here.

Exhibition Launch Event Playlist

Sylvia is responsible for The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum's new exhibition, 'Thirteen Ways of Looking' which brings together 13 artists and curators focused on international, multi-faith and feminist perspectives which shift. Sylvia selects tunes from Robert Glasper, Laura Mvula, Abimaio, Nao, Koffee and more.

Online Events

Donald Rodney – Autoicon: Discussing The Digital Body

12 November 2020 7.00pm – 8.00pm

Join curator Ian Sergeant and Professor Mike Philips as they discuss and unpack Donald Rodney’s Autoicon. 


NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism (NSAF) Research

3 December 2020 7.00pm – 8.00pm

How can we create a space for women of colour in technologies like Virtual Reality?


Dreamerfly and other stories is an immersive 45-minute expanded and experimental live performance combining multi-screen animation, overhead projectors, a small handcrafted installation and contemporary jazz music.



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.

Supported by