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Bottom Natures - CGP London Cafe Gallery

Exhibition preview

BOTTOM Natures, a group exhibition curated by Matthew McQuillan and featuring Amir Chasson, Matthew Clements, Lucy Clout, Julika Gittner, Anthony Green, Laura Morrison, Sianne Ngai, Joscha Schell and Daniel Shanken, will be on display at CGP London Cafe Gallery from April 1 to May 3, 2015.

What happens when a work hugs too tight; when it refuses to grant the viewer the distance for a cool, detached reading? Or when a work overloads; when it showers information, references and signifiers upon the casual bystander?

Taking it’s title from the novelist Gertrude Stein, Bottom Natures sets out to explore ideas of proximity and pace, in relation to artwork. Stein used the expression to describe the structuring and word-play found within Tender Buttons, her book of poetic vignettes on Objects, Food and Rooms.

Tender Buttons playfully dismantles words and meaning to their bare-essentials. When reading, a gap appears between cause and effect – a brake in the chain of connectives, which forces the reader to stop and grapple with language; how to make sense, what sense and for whom.

This exhibition will explore the Bottom Nature of art and art making. In this context, Bottom Natures is a state which renders the viewer tongue tied or dumbstruck. This obstructive state has the potential to mislead and muddle ones mental faculties and perhaps, to better question what grounds these faculties in the first place.

The exhibition features British and International artists, working in an array of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, and video; with works that deploy repetition, humour, ambiguity, and contradiction to muddy the viewer’s reading. It includes an interview with theorist and critic Sianne Ngai, whose essay Stuplimity, has informed the exhibition’s focus. There will also be a coinciding day of lectures and presentations from invited speakers, organised by theorist and writer, Matthew Clements.

Anthony Green’s Absolute Redundancy, will function as a prologue for the exhibition. This graphite drawing is composed of two black holes on a slightly soiled but otherwise empty, page. The drawing slips between depiction and abstraction: in one sense it is empty, devoid; in another there are holes or stumps, exits and entrances; and because it is both and neither, it tires itself out.

Other works include Lucy Clout’s Shrugging Offing, a single-channel HD video, set in a pattern cutting studio and inspired by her research into ASMR youtube entries; and a newly commissioned, large scale, plasticine wall relief, by Laura Morrison. These works will operate on a range of tempos and intensities, to interrogate the thematic of Bottom Natures.

The specially commissioned interview and coinciding events day offer an alternate platform for considering the exhibition as a whole, and extending these ideas beyond the gallery remit.

Exhibition event:

Unpunctual Encounters – Saturday, May 2 from 2pm to 6pm.

Together with a series of speakers, the audience will be invited to consider the lags, lapses, and slippages associated with deferral and delay, addressing those anxious moments of an uncertain duration that perhaps now, more than ever, have come to characterise contemporary experience of the everyday.

Speakers include: Lisa Baraitser, lecturer in Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London; Gareth Bell-Jones, writer and curator; Matthew Clements, writer and researcher with the London Consortium; and Laura Salisbury, Senior Lecturer in Medicine and English Literature at the University of Exeter.

CGP London Cafe Gallery, Southwark Park, Bermondsey, SE16 2UA

Tel: +44 (0) 20 7237 1230


Camden Arts Centre - Exhibitions for 2015

Season preview

CAMDEN Arts Centre has announced its exhibitions for 2015 and they include:

João Maria Gusmão + Pedro Paiva: Papagaio – January 30 to March 29 (Galleries 1, 2, artists’ studio and central space).

Celebrated Portuguese artists João Maria Gusmão and Pedro Paiva present a magical, immersive film installation at Camden Arts Centre – their first major show in London.

The kaleidoscopic world created by 27 16mm films and two camera obscura installations, takes viewers on an imaginative journey into science, philosophy and religion. Each film examines a particular subject – a treatise on material, animal or human behaviour – that probes at the nature of truth and perception.

Ruth Ewan: Back to the Fields – January 30 to March 29 (Gallery 3)

For this major new installation at Camden Arts Centre, London based artist Ruth Ewan brings to life the French Republican Calendar.

In use from 1793 until 1805, the calendar temporarily redefined and rationalised the Gregorian Calendar, stripping it of all religious references in post-revolutionary France. Months and weeks were restructured and seasons and days renamed in collaboration with artists, poets and horticulturalists to reflect the seasonality of nature and agriculture.

Simon Martin – April 10 to June 21.

A new film commissioned by Flamin – a continuation of Martin’s Ur Feeling project. In 2012, his exhibition of the same name was shown at Camden Arts Centre and is considered as the ‘trailer’ for this new film.

Jo Baer – April 10 to June 21.

An exhibition of work by Amsterdam based, American artist Jo Baer who emerged as one of the key figures of the Minimalist art movement in the 1960s and 70s. In 1983, she dramatically announced ‘I am no longer an abstract artist’.

This exhibition will centre around Baer’s most recent series, In the Land of the Giants, drawing a lineage from her earlier minimalist works, through her experiments with what she termed ‘radical figuration’ in the 1990s, through to her current exploration of esoteric imagery.

Hannah Collins – July 4 to September 13, 2015.

Hannah Collins is well known well for her large unframed photographs that cover whole walls, creating immersive spatial experiences. Her installations also extend to film and sound. Filling all of Camden Arts Centre’s galleries, the exhibition demonstrates Collins’ ability to convey the emotional aspects of space – across interiors, places of itinerancy and temporary inhabitation, sites of political significance as well as journeys into imaginative or unconscious realms.

Ben Rivers – September 25 to November 29.

A major solo show by Ben Rivers will bring together many of his works, including previous seminal works and a series of new films. Alongside his solo show, Rivers will curate a group show based on the concept of ‘edgelands’.

The exhibition will draw together a selection works that have inspired his interest in the borders of society, both physical spaces – often on the deserted peripheries of cities – and conceptually, where individuals are outside the mainstream culture.

Rose English – December 11, 2015 to February 21, 2016.

An exhibition of work by Rose English, who emerged out of the UK’s vibrant and pioneering feminist, conceptual art and dance scenes of the 1970s. She has worked across numerous disciplines, contexts and under many different guises exploring performance, installation, theatre, dance and film. This exhibition will include new work produced for the exhibition within the vocabulary of her practice of the last 40 years.

Opening times: Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesdays late, 10am to 9pm; closed Mondays.

Camden Arts Centre, Arkwright Road, London, NW3 6DG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7472 5500


British Museum - New Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World to open in 2018

Michael Rakowitz - The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist-Headless Femal e Figure Wearing Dress (IM9005) / Recovered, Missing,Stolen, 2009 (2010, 6025.8) © The Trustees of the British Museum.

THE Albukhary Foundation is providing significant support for a major new gallery to redisplay the collections of the Islamic world at the British Museum.

The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World will open to the public at the end of October 2018 and will reveal the British Museum’s outstanding collections in engaging new ways, underscoring the global connections of this vast region of the world.

This new gallery represents a shared vision between the British Museum and the Malaysia-based Albukhary Foundation and will give visitors an understanding of the diverse and wide-ranging cultures of the Islamic world.

This announcement is also marked by an award celebrating the contribution of the British Museum’s touring exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam that was first shown at the British Museum in 2012. This award is an inaugural annual Prize for Educators, instituted jointly in 2014 by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (ISESCO) and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS).

The objective of the Prize for Educators award is to promote dialogue and understanding between peoples, cultures and civilisations. The award promotes these shared values by paying tribute to major institutions, leading figures and sponsors active in the promotion of values of peace and coexistence.

This year, the award has been issued to the British Museum for its widely praised exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam, both for its display in Bloomsbury in 2012 and for the touring versions to Doha, Leiden and Paris, which encapsulated its concepts and ideas.

It was felt by ISESCO and OCIS that this exhibition has done much to promote greater understanding of the annual pilgrimage of Hajj and its importance to Muslims.

Unique amongst major museums, the British Museum’s collections are able to represent the diversity of cultures of the Middle East, Turkey, Central Asia and South and South-East Asia from the advent of Islam to the present day.

The collections encompass the art and material culture of the Islamic world from Africa to China, including archaeology, decorative arts, the arts of the book, Middle Eastern and Central Asian ethnography and textiles, and modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art.

The Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World will also reflect the connections between the cultures of Islam and the Ancient World on the one hand, and the cultures of the Mediterranean World and Europe on the other. With the support of the Albukhary Foundation, the Museum can now radically redisplay its important collections, placing them in a suite of galleries at the very heart of the British Museum.

The space for the new gallery will be achieved by joining two beautiful and historic galleries, Rooms 42-45 on the first floor of the Museum that are currently closed to visitors. These new gallery spaces are adjacent to the galleries of early and modern Europe, including the recently refurbished Sir Paul and Lady Ruddock Gallery of Sutton Hoo and Europe AD 300-1100, therefore presenting a more cohesive historical narrative between medieval Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The first of the two gallery spaces will look at the region from the beginning of Islam to about 1500, highlighting the arts of the great medieval dynasties.

The visitor will be made aware of clear connections to narratives within current displays nearby, where objects relating to Byzantium, the Vikings, the Crusades and Islamic Spain are displayed. Here we will also see the impact of Islamic art on western art with objects such as Mamluk mosque lamps and metalwork, which were sources of inspiration for 19th-century European artists and designers.

In the second gallery, the visitor will encounter objects that represent the pinnacle of creativity under the three major dynasties that dominated the Islamic world from the 16th century: the Ottomans, Safavids and Mughals. Their enlightened patronage saw the production of magnificent objects, including ceramics, jewellery and painting that are among the glories of the British Museum’s collection.

Also highlighted will be objects and textiles from Central Asia and Muslim South and South-East Asia, which in turn will link to displays in other parts of the Museum. The juxtapositions and contextualization of objects from all reaches of the Islamic world in these galleries will continually draw attention to the cross-fertilisation existing between regions and time periods, encouraging visitors to explore these connections.

This innovative redisplay will draw on the full breadth of the Islamic collections and facilitate dynamic and engaging displays within a chronological and geographically organised structure. The gallery will also highlight the importance of non-Muslim communities.

While Islam was, and in most cases remains, the dominant religious and associated political culture of the region covered by the displays within these galleries, communities of other faiths – including Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Zoroastrian and others – played an immensely important role in the social, political and cultural life of the region and will therefore also be represented through the objects in the gallery.

This refreshing redisplay will be supported by digital media which will allow key objects, artists and techniques to be presented with more in-depth interpretation. New areas in this space will be dedicated to rotating displays of light sensitive material, a pressing need given the Museum’s world-class collection of Persian and Mughal paintings and calligraphies, and the rich and growing holdings of mostly organic ethnographic material including textiles and contemporary works on paper.

Through a shared vision and collaboration with the Albukhary Foundation, the British Museum hopes to encourage increased public engagement with Islamic art and culture while simultaneously placing the narrative of Islamic civilisations within a much wider context.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, said:

“This generous gift from The Albukhary Foundation makes it possible for us to completely redisplay one of the world’s most important Islamic collections. These new galleries will allow us to present our collection in the context of world cultures exploring the history, complexity and diversity of Islamic cultures across the world from Sub Saharan Africa to Malaysia and Indonesia.

“I am delighted that the British Museum’s exhibition Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam has been awarded the Prize for Educators, by the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies, this recognition demonstrates how important it is to build and develop our collection to better understand the history of the Islamic world.”

Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, Chairman of the Albukhary Foundation said:

“I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate the British Museum on all its good works, especially in promoting arts and culture throughout the world. The Albukhary Foundation looks forward to working with the British Museum in promoting such a good cause.”

Farhan Nizami, Director, Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (OCIS) said:

“The British Museum has an unrivalled track record for mounting major exhibitions which enhance understanding and change hearts and minds. Hajj: journey to the heart of Islam was an especially powerful example of this. The judges had no hesitation in awarding the exhibition, and the British Museum, the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation and Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies Joint Prize for excellence in promoting understanding between peoples, cultures and faiths and for its contribution to Education for Peace.”

Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said:

“On behalf of Her Majesty’s Government I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the Albukhary Foundation for this generous donation to the British Museum. The Islamic collections are an extremely important part of the British Museum and these new galleries will allow the museum to display these fascinating exhibits in a way that will both delight visitors and increase understanding of Islamic cultures. Donations like these help ensure our great cultural institutions maintain their reputation as some of the best and most exciting in the world.”

Image: Michael Rakowitz. The Invisible Enemy Should Not Exist – Headless Femal e Figure (Kh.IV 115) / Recovered, Missing, Stolen, 2007 (2010, 6025.1) © The Trustees of the British Museum.

Also at the British Museum: Defining beauty: the body in ancient Greek art (until July 5); Indigenous Australia: enduring civilisation (April 23 to August 2); and Jim Dine Prints (until mid-June 2015).

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tel: 020 7323 8181


Urban Village Fete at Greenwich Peninsula

Event preview

URBAN Village Fete presents a contemporary twist on the traditional village fair.

Taking place on Sunday, May 10, 2015, in Greenwich Peninsula, one of the capital’s most exciting new districts and set to become ‘London’s ultimate village’, it will celebrate the best in design, music, art, innovative events and modern craftsmanship.

The inaugural event will draw on local suppliers, designers and performers as well as offering a forum for top local talent, all set against a range of established design stalls and food trucks with an international flavour.

The free day out will feature a range of curated designer marketplaces, street food, design hubs, artist interventions, diverse and quirky events, art and design workshops, walkabout entertainment, music, dance classes and unique pop-ups.

Organised in association with Hemingway Design, Urban Village Fete will be the first free public event staged in Peninsula Garden, a new public garden for London designed by Alys Fowler and Thomas Hoblyn in association with Tom Dixon’s Design Research Studio.

Local residents and visitors from further afield can take part in many of the Fete’s events including:

Best of British Design marketplace curated by Best of Britannia.

Pop Up Fashion.

Craft and Designer Maker marketplace.

Street Food sellers.

Dance Classes courtesy of Swing Patrol.

Engaging workshops for children from The House of Fairy Tales.

DJ sets from atop a classic London Routemaster including Gilles Peterson.

Upcycled and Vintage clothing and homewares market.

The Pooch Parade and Best in Show parades.

ELCAF (East London Comics and Arts Festival) presents Ricardo Cavolo’s Emblema at NOW Gallery.

Admission: Free.

Time: 12pm – 7pm.

The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, London, SE10 0SQ

Easter events at the Foundling Museum

Events preview

THE FOUNDLING Museum has announced its events for Easter 2015 and they include:

Foundling Sunday – Sunday, April 5, talk at 2pm, concert at 3pm.

Curatorial Advisor Agi Katz considers whether it was Epstein’s humanity or skill that made him a great portrait sculptor. Epstein wrote of his greatest artistic hero, Rembrandt, that his heart ‘seemed to warm towards the men and women who sat for him’ as ‘he seemed to penetrate into their inner selves’. Followed by a piano recital from Maite Aguirre.

Folk at the Foundling: Moore Moss Rutter – Friday, April 17, doors open at 6.30pm, concert at 7pm. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions and Foundling Friends.

The award-winning trio Moore Moss Rutter, bring their ‘intelligently crafted musical adventures’ to the Museum as they kick off their summer tour. Fiddler Tom Moore, melodeon player Archie Churchill-Moss and instrumentalist Jack Rutter are well known for meticulous re-workings of English compositions. Whether performing at Glastonbury or in living rooms, their sets promise a range of musical creativity from mellow and precisely-engineered soundscapes to wild builds of tension and tempestuous climaxes.

Foundling Walk: Exhibition Special – Sunday, April 19 from 1pm – 3pm. Meeting at the British Museum. Tickets: £10, £8 concessions and Foundling Friends.

Explore the life and work of Sir Jacob Epstein with Janice Liverseidge. Discover more about Epstein’s loves and artistic inspiration whilst taking in a wealth of statues and sculptural works that depict famous figures of Bloomsbury’s history. The walk culminates at the Foundling Museum.

Band Day – Saturday, April 25 from 11am – 4pm. Family Workshop 11am – 1.30pm, 2pm – 4pm. Band Performances, 2.30pm and 3.30 (20 mins each).

This is a family day of live music, talks and workshops that celebrates the history of The Foundling Hospital’s Boys’ Band. This all day event brings to life the current display Foundlings at War: The Boys’ Band, running until May 10.

Camden Concert Band will perform outside the Museum near the grounds of the original Foundling Hospital, recreating musical sounds once familiar to the area. A family workshop will run during the day, where children can make their own Band Day instruments, alongside talks on the history of the Boys’ Band.

The Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, London, WC1N 1AZ


Peter Joyce: Moving South - Gallery 8

Flooded Pools, 2014, Acrylic and collage on wood panel, 64cm x 104cm (Price: £8,500).

Exhibition preview

THE extraordinary marsh landscape of Western France and its rare salt pans is coming to London, in the form of paintings by highly regarded abstract painter, Peter Joyce.

Moving South, Jenna Burlingham Fine Art’s first solo exhibition in London for Joyce, is on display at Gallery 8 from Wednesday, May 6 to Sunday, May 10 2015.

Peter Joyce – who is fast being recognised as one to watch by collectors and interior decorators – is well known and highly regarded among Modern British artists. His work is exhibited at all the main London art fairs and held in private and public collections all over the world.

He is someone who prefers to be outside, especially in the Marais Breton Vendeen in western France where his studio is. This extraordinary marshland landscape pervades his work, apparently subliminally for he makes his paintings behind the closed doors of his large workspace.

Although he sees himself as an abstract painter, the English tradition of landscape painting and a recognizable nod towards post war Modern British Art are unmistakable. This said, Joyce is very much an artist working in 21st Century Europe.

The title of the exhibition refers not only to the physical move the artist Peter Joyce has made from Dorset to La Vendee in France but also to the noticeable influence this move has had on his work. The palette is brighter, the paintings are more open and this is the consequence of the combination of his proximity to the sea, the longer sunshine hours, the warmth and the quality of the light.

Twenty-two paintings reveal Joyce’s concentrated study of the salt pan areas. It is an extraordinary area of polders and wet meadows crossed by canals and ditches, which Joyce has thoroughly explored and researched by walking, mapping and photographing. The exhibition is carefully put together as a whole, although each painting in itself is a complete piece of work.

The body of work as a whole documents the area and the titles can evoke a sense of time – September, Dried Earth and Rosehip Evening, to name just a few. There are also ones that evoke the weather – Summer Storm, Storm Light, Flooded Pools.

Other paintings deal with the changing colour through flora – Water Primrose (an invasive plant not native to the area that chokes the waterways with it’s beautiful yellow flowers) and Into Autumn (which is about the pinks from the fauna and the late summer sun). Still others are about the place/structure of the landscape – Fenced pool, Seaweed Catcher, Divided Digue (Digue is the French for a sea wall).

“His resulting work may appear quite abstract,” says Jenna Burlingham, Peter Joyce’s main representative, “and indeed he thinks of himself as an abstract artist. But the pictures would not look like they do if it was not for the landscape in which he immerses himself and some of them are in fact quite literal – colours, shape, form and texture are all taken directly from life.”

Joyce has a distinctive style, his paintings are created layer by layer and the surface, like the landscape itself, is worked and re-worked. Drawing, painting and compositional changes are endlessly made creating complicated yet enchanting surfaces. Each layer is changed and often removed as if by erosion mimicking the landscape itself. The process continues until the painting reminds him of the place and the place reminds him of the painting.

Of the exhibition, Joyce says: “For me, painting is a natural extension of my love of the outdoors. I enjoy weather, wildlife, geography and the seasons. Somehow, painting is an extension of that.”

Of the Marais Breton Vendeen, he says: “I love being here, it’s a challenging landscape reclaimed from the sea. Maybe it isn’t so immediately obvious in terms of aesthetic appearance as my home county of Dorset. It isn’t hills, valleys and cliff faces, it is endlessly flat and apparently featureless. It rewards perseverance on the aesthetic level, very much like painting.

“The area resists easy translation onto canvas. I’m comfortable with that though, my painting is a seemingly endless set of questions and answers, of working and reworking and of trial and error. I enjoy the process of struggling with paint, I am a painter, paint is my medium and I choose the subject of what I see. I love the marsh landscape as much as I loved Dorset.”

Times: May 6, 7 and 8 – 10am – 6pm; May 9 – 10am – 4pm; May 10 – 11am – 3pm.

Gallery 8, 8 Duke Street, St James’s, London, SW1Y 6BN

Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival

Event preview

THIS year, the Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival celebrates its 40th Anniversary with more than 40 Punch & Judy and Puppet Shows performing throughout the day.

On Sunday, May 10, 2015, the Festival will be held in the garden of St Paul’s Church, Bedford Street, London, WC2 – the actors’ church – near the spot where Samuel Pepys first saw Mr Punch in England in May 1662.

Punch and Judy Professors and Puppeteers from all over the country will be coming to perform throughout the day. Everyone is invited to come and enjoy the shows and celebrate the art of puppetry on Mr Punch’s 353rd birthday.


11am – Grand Procession around the neighbourhood of Covent Garden starting in the Church garden, led by the Superior Brass Band with a birthday toast to Mr Punch by the commemorative plaque on the church wall in the Piazza.

12 noon – Special Church Service with Mr Punch in the Pulpit.

12.30pm to 5.30pm – Punch & Judy and Puppet Shows, Puppet Workshops, Stalls, Refreshments, Folk Music by The Lost Marbles String Band, Maypole Dancing and Clowns.

3pm – 40th Anniversary Photocall for all Punch & Judy Professors and Puppeteers on the steps of St Paul’s Church.

The British Puppet and Model Theatre Guild, The Punch and Judy Fellowship, The College of Punch and Judy Professors, The Puppet Centre Trust and The Union Internationale de la Marionette will all be represented.

There will be stalls run by community groups from all over Westminster and Camden together with the Covent Garden Community Association, and refreshments provided by the Food Chain who are raising funds to help provide nutritional support for people living with HIV in London.

Punch and Judy Professors, Puppeteers and Entertainers attending include:

Prof Geoff Felix, Bryan Clarke, John Thursby, Chris Gasper, Paul Wheeler. John Wood, Clive Chandler, Gary Wilson, Joanne Tremarco, Martyn Cooper, Barbara Ray, Joseph Peek, Alix Booth, Jamie Riding, Damien Weis (France), Bertie Pearce, Pete Maggs, Glyn Edwards, Katey Edwards, Richard Robinson, Jacques Devienne (France), The Battey Family, Peter Charlton, James Bradley, Paul Tuck & Les King…

…Gary Timby, Pete Dann, Paul Jackson, David Wilde, James Arnott, Joe Burns, Benjamin Hasker, Adrienne Press, Fagner Gastaldon, Paul Goddard, Brian Baggs, The Budapest Marionettes, Stanelli’s Super Circus, Randolph the Remarkable, The Pink Policeman, Clown Salvo, Clown Gingernutt, The Lost Marbles String Band, Donna Maria’s Maypole Spectacular, and many more.

Venue: St. Paul’s Church Garden, Bedford Street, WC2E 9ED.

Admission: Free.

The London, Paris & NYC Veil series - Royal Festival Hall

NYC Veil

Exhibition preview

THE London, Paris & NYC Veil series form a captivating body of work by photographic artist Sara Shamsavari. The series exists to give prominence to young muslim women in these urban cities by documenting and celebrating the expression of their individual identities through their vibrant hijab styles.

The first of these series London Veil exhibited at Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival 13, since when Sara has extended the series to document ‘hijabistas’ in Paris and New York.

Large scale photographic images from all three cities feature alongside a video that documents and interviews Sara and her participants for the first time in an extended exhibition, part of Southbank Centre’s WOW – Women of the World Festival (March 1 – 8) and continuing until March 29, 2015.

The project is neither a critic nor an advocate of the veil but rather exists to recognise and celebrate its participants as strong, vital individuals who manage to shine, despite the struggles of youth, womanhood and prejudice they may receive as a result of the visibility of their faith.

Through the documentation of these modern muslimahs through their self-styled hijabs, ranging from subtle to wild in their expression, the London, Paris & NYC Veil series both illustrates and is inspired by the influence of our perceived restrictions, limitations and challenges. Those forces encourage originality, adaptation and in turn transform cultural expression into objects of beauty.

The exhibition is on display in the Level 3 foyers at the Royal Festival Hall.

Larrakitj: Aboriginal memorial poles by Wukun Wanambi

Exhibition preview

THIS Asahi Shimbun display, Larrakitj: Aboriginal memorial poles by Wukun Wanambi, features work by contemporary Aboriginal Australian artist, Wukun Wanambi (b.1962) and is open to the public from March 12 to May 25, 2015.

Wukun, an important Yolngu artist from Yirrkala in Eastern Arnhem Land, produces contemporary work firmly grounded in a traditional form. He focusses on making larrakitj, memorial poles.

Larrakitj are derived from painted hollow log coffins: such coffins used to be made as the final resting place of the dry bones of important people, and were painted with clan designs. Now Yolngu artists use the form – hollow logs painted with traditional techniques and designs – to convey some of their core understandings of the world to the outsiders with whom they have had, increasingly, to engage.

Wukun says: “The outside surface of things hides what is inside. I want to share what is hidden. … I have wanted to share this understanding with non-Indigenous people for a long time.”

In 2013, Wukun was one of five contemporary Aboriginal Australian artists invited to the British Museum. He saw the Round Reading Room planted in the middle of the Great Court as standing like a memorial pole in the centre of the British Museum, and the visitors swirling around it as searching for meaning. This particular installation, made for the British Museum, offers Wukun’s vision to those visitors today.

The installation includes two poles lent by Wukun and the Buku-Larrangay Mulka Art Centre, exhibited with four now owned by the British Museum. This installation is called ‘Wetjwitj’, which means both a group of clanspeople from Wukun’s clan and the fish that manifest their spirits.

The swirling fish he paints also represent the turbulence and flow of water, the flow of currents and key points of ancestral power beneath the water of Trial Bay in his clan’s territory. As Wukun describes, “The fish are swimming from creek to creek, river to river, searching for their destiny. Just like all these people from all over the world coming to the British Museum here. Everybody is searching for their own story.”

Wukun’s work is innovative within the conventional larrakitj framework. Traditionally, the bark is removed and the sapwood is sanded to create perfect cylinders of wood. Instead of making a smooth cylinder from the tree, he chooses to emphasise the natural form of the tree, leaving the knots and flaws in the wood. He paints his clan symbol, mullet fish, swimming in tight schools over the surface of the wood, their movements following and emphasising the curves and hollows of the tree.

Yolngu imagery, while strongly grounded in the specific places of their territory, has a wider explanatory power. It often focusses on the cycle of life and is layered with multiple meanings.

Traditionally hollow log coffins were painted with clan designs belonging to the deceased whose bones were placed in them – the spirit no longer present. The coffins were set in the landscape, where sun, wind, rain and fire eventually wore them away.

In 1988, a group of Yolngu artists made 200 larrakitj to mark Australia’s Bicentenary, to remember the Aboriginal people who died through those 200 years, and to assert the continuing vibrancy of their knowledge and practice. Now known as memorial poles, larrakitj have since become part of the Yolngu artistic repertoire, always painted with clan designs using the mineral paints available on their land.

Wukun has included in this group display for the British Museum three poles that reveal the process by which the larrakitj are made: a hollow tree trunk with the bark still on it, one with the wood smoothed to receive the paint, and one with the undercoat of white clay painted on it.

The forest on Yolngu land is made up of tall, thin stringybark eucalyptus trees. In a millennia-old land management technique, Yolngu control-burn sections of the forest to clear the undergrowth, and some trees, already hollowed out by termites, are further hollowed as the fire burns through them. Wukun is a connoisseur of such trees, always scanning the forest to find trees suitable for his larrakitj. Integrally related to the land by virtue of coming from it, Wukun’s painted larrakitj refer to his place, his country, at multiple levels.

Wukun Wanambi has been making art since the late 1990s and this Asahi Shimbun display shows how artists engage with their surroundings to create meaningful works. The Yolngu have a long history, and the traditional stories and places that Wukun depicts are of deep significance to his clan. In painting his country, Wukun is also following in the footsteps of his father, the renowned clan leader and artist Mithili Wanambi, who died in 1981.

Contemporary Indigenous art is sometimes made in response to land lost, whereas Wukun’s work reveals a long engagement between people and land. This display presents a unique opportunity to engage with an Indigenous Australian community through a traditional art form whose narrative now entwines with the very museum setting it resides in.

With much assistance from the Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Art Centre at Yirrkala in eastern Arnhem Land, this installation is exhibited in Room 3.

Image: Wukun Wanambi (b. 1962), Wetjwitj (full length). Earth pigment on hollow tree trunk, 2013. © the artist, courtesy Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre.

Admission: Free.

British Museum, Great Russell Street, London, WC1B 3DG

Tel: 020 7323 8181


Cinderella: The Exhibition - Leicester Square Gardens


Exhibition preview

THE Walt Disney Company and Swarovski are presenting Cinderella: The Exhibition, an enchanting display of original costumes and props from Disney’s new live action film of the classic fairy tale.

The standalone exhibition will immerse visitors in the magical world of Cinderella and will be on display in the iconic Leicester Square Gardens from Saturday, March 21 to Friday, April 10, 2015.

The exhibition will be free of charge with tickets available via With 22 remarkable costumes and hundreds of original props on display the exhibition will offer people the opportunity to celebrate the film’s British roots first hand.

Filmed in the UK, Cinderella features costumes from renowned British costume designer, the BAFTA and Academy Award® winning Sandy Powell, and is directed by fellow BAFTA winner and Academy Award® nominee Kenneth Branagh.

Powell’s costumes, as worn by the all-star cast including Lily James (as Cinderella), BAFTA winner and Academy Award® nominee Helena Bonham Carter (the Fairy Godmother), Academy Award® winning Cate Blanchett (Lady Tremaine) and Richard Madden (the Prince) will be proudly on display for all to see, housed within the recreated sets of BAFTA and Academy Award® winning production designer Dante Ferretti.

The exhibition is presented by Swarovski who provided Sandy Powell with over 1.7 million crystals for the spellbinding costumes to bring added sparkle to Cinderella’s magical world.

At the heart of the exhibition will be Cinderella’s iconic slipper, also designed by Powell. The dazzling slipper, which plays such a pivotal role in the fairy tale, was hewn from solid Swarovski crystal and features 221 facets in a light-reflecting Crystal Blue Aurora Borealis coating. Powell worked closely with Swarovski technicians at the headquarters of the crystal house in Austria to create the magnificent slipper.

“I’m looking forward to people being able to see the behind the scenes magic that went into the creation of Cinderella, ” said Branagh of the exhibition. “Sandy Powell has allowed unlimited access to her creative process from the initial sketches to the final creations, including the most iconic costume of all – Cinderella’s incredibly beautiful blue ball gown.”

Cate Blanchett added: “You can see the detail and the work and the colour and the wit and whimsy that have gone into Sandy’s costumes – it’ll be a real treat for people.”


Commenting on the exhibition Nadja Swarovski said: “We are very excited to bring the magic of Sandy Powell’s Cinderella costume designs, including the famous slipper in solid Swarovski crystal, to her home city of London. Sandy’s artistry and impeccable eye for detail always results in the most memorable costumes.”

The Walt Disney Company and Swarovski have partnered with MediCinema on the exhibit to bring the magic of Cinderella to all MediCinema patients. Disney and Swarovski will commit all funds raised from the Cinderella: The Exhibition brochure, which will be available for a donation, to support MediCinemas and patients across the UK and Italy. In addition there will also be special screenings of Cinderella for MediCinema patients and family.

Kat Mason, CEO of MediCinema said: “You only have to witness the looks on our patients’ faces as they walk through the doors of a MediCinema to understand the true value of escapism, and return to normality for people who are unwell in a place of care. For just two short hours we transport them from the hospital and their illness into the magic of cinema and film – the results are extraordinary. We are so grateful to Disney and Swarovski, without whom this just wouldn’t be possible.”

“It’s an extra pleasure to partner with Disney to support MediCinema, and bring some of the sparkle and excitement of the Cinderella tale to the patients and families who most need it.” added Nadja Swarovski.

The exhibition was designed and produced by MXW with the help of London Film Experience, a subsidiary of the London Film Museum.

The London Film Experience has been working with Westminster City Council to bring the exhibition into London’s West End. Cllr Robert Davis, Deputy Leader of Westminster City Council said: “We are delighted to welcome Disney and this wonderful exhibition into the heart of London’s West End. Like Cinderella’s glass slipper, this event is the perfect fit for Leicester Square.”

Admission: Free but the event will be ticketed.

Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday, 10am to 9pm (last admission at 8pm); Sunday, 11am to 7pm (last admission at 6pm).