Article by Jas Bhachu
We at 55 always welcome and celebrate diversity and female empowerment. Negating any form of oppression is a core value to our stream of publications. There has never been a greater time for women to find their voices, share experiences and come together to educate and liberate each other. Now is the time for bridging the gaps in our understanding of how to merge deep-rooted traditions with being a modern woman.
This is why we couldn’t be happier to share news of UK’s first ever Asian Woman Festival coming next month!
Foreword from AWF:
Through culture, conversation and art the Asian Woman Festival is the UK's first of its kind event smashing stereotypes and stigma to empower and celebrate Asian Women.
The theme for the inaugural event is ‘identity’ and the one-day festival will host panel talks, masterclasses, live performances and much more, for Asian women to come together, explore and express their views around navigating a dual identity coupled with cultural expectations in 21st century Britain.
An art exhibition curated especially for the festival, 'Musings of Identity', will display the work of up to 30 different artists, highlight significant topics surrounding female identity and explore the various perceptions that may well be outdated amongst Asian communities in modern Britain.
Festival founder and director, Shani Dhanda said, “Being of Asian origin and living in the UK means not only are we a more socially conservative community due to our traditional and cultural beliefs, but we are constantly bridging two cultures. Until now, there hasn’t been an opportunity to talk about how living in contradiction becomes second nature.”
Shani was born with a rare genetic condition more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease and has a short stature of 3’10. With her passion for creating everyday equality, she is a business and culture change agent, social entrepreneur and disability rights advocate named as one of the most influential disabled people in Britain, Shaw Trust Power List 2018.
These are still massive taboo issues in our community and the Asian Woman Festival will be a safe space to tackle these subjects, giving attendees the skills to confidently navigate their way through society whilst celebrating the ever-vibrant culture and traditions of being Asian.
The festival will bring together an impressive selection of contributors to facilitate dialogue around issues facing Asian women and girls today. The festival line-up includes:
• Singer-songwriter Amrit Kaur Lohia, whose notable performances include Glastonbury Festival 2017, MTV, Somerset House Summer Series, and the UN General Assembly for Unicef
• Keynote talk by award-winning spoken word artist, Jaspreet Kaur, better known as Behind the Netra, where she’ll be looking at the struggles that the young Asian female diaspora face, including issues to do with identity, equality and inner confidence
The Asian Woman Festival is on 30 March at The New Bingley Hall, Birmingham.
Tickets are £10 for the entire day. Everyone is welcome.
The festival is sponsored by The Asian Business Chamber of Commerce and Mr Singh’s.
• Shani Dhanda is the Founder of the Diversability Card, Asian Woman Festival & Asian Disability Network.
• Festival partners are British Bindi and Like Minded Females
• Press tickets are available, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor: Christopher George
Tate Britain major retrospective of the legendary British photographer Sir Don McCullin. Renowned as one of Britain’s greatest living photographers, McCullin has captured images of conflict from around the world including Vietnam, Northern Ireland, Lebanon and Biafra. Often taken at great personal risk, these unforgettable photographs will be shown alongside McCullin’s work in documentary photography, his travel assignments and his long term engagement with landscape and still life. With over 250 photographs, all printed by the artist himself in his own darkroom, this exhibition is a unique opportunity to see the scope and achievements of McCullin’s career.
Don McCullin began taking photographs in the 1950s, documenting his surroundings and local community in his native Finsbury Park, London. In 1958 his photograph The Guvnors, a portrait of a notorious local gang, was published in The Observer, launching his career as a photojournalist. Working first for The Observer and then The Sunday Times Magazine, McCullin went on to capture major conflicts around the world from Vietnam and the Congo to Cyprus and Beirut. The exhibition includes some of McCullin’s most iconic photographs including Shell- shocked US Marine, The Battle of Hue 1968, Starving Twenty Four Year Old Mother with Child, Biafra 1968 and Northern Ireland, The Bogside, Londonderry 1971. Alongside McCullin’s hand-printed silver gelatin prints, the exhibition also includes the photographer’s magazine spreads, contact sheets, his helmet and the Nikon camera which took a bullet for him in Cambodia.
While McCullin has been best known as a photojournalist and war correspondent, he has also consistently engaged in documentary photography in Britain, depicting scenes of poverty and working class life in London’s East End and the north of England. From the homeless and disenfranchised population of Whitechapel in the 1970s to the industrial landscapes of Bradford, Liverpool and Durham, McCullin has exposed changing social conditions in the UK. These works are shown alongside other photographs taken around the country, including character studies of people at the seaside and at Ascot.
McCullin’s most recent photographs for his ongoing project ‘Southern Frontiers’ connects the two key strands of his work: conflict and landscape. For years, McCullin has been documenting the physical remains of the Roman Empire in the north African and Levantine landscapes, including the ancient site of Palmyra. He returned to Syria last year to document the deliberate destruction and demolitions undertaken by the so called Islamic State. The exhibition ends with these powerful works including The theatre on the Roman city of Palmyra, partly destroyed by Islamic State fighters 2017.
Don McCullin is curated by Simon Baker, Director of The Maison Européene de la Photographie, Paris, with Shoair Mavlian, Director of Photoworks, assisted by Aïcha Mehrez, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate Britain. It is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue and a programme of talks and events in the gallery.
5 February – 6 May 2019
Tate Britain, Level 2 Galleries
Supported by the Don McCullin Exhibition Supporters Circle and Tate Patrons Open daily 10.00 – 18.00
For public information call +44(0)20 7887 8888, visit tate.org.uk or follow @Tate
YOU WILL NEVER LOOK AT TOY STORY THE SAME WAY AGAIN. OR ONE OF THE OLD MASTERS!
REVIEW BY SARA DARLING
Philip Colbert has big boots to fill. Described by US Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley as "The godson of Andy Warhol”, the UK based “pop” artist covers all mediums of painting, sculpture, clothing, furniture and design. He has even dressed Lady Gaga. But the multi-disciplinary creator chose west London’s Saatchi Gallery for the latest show “Hunt Paintings” which, is his most ambitious solo exhibition to date. Showcasing eight large-scale canvases, narrated by his alter-ego Lobster, it is presented by Unit London, and has collectors chomping at the bit.
Choosing to work with painting, film and sculpture, the show explores repetitive images from today's’ popular consumerist culture, along with a nod to politics and climate change. Emojis feature heavily, as well as references to sportswear brands and luxury labels. Classical painters do not escape the mash up, as Colbert cunningly fuses heads of the greats such as Reubens, Van Dyck and Van Gogh onto today's heros, turning them into a surreal pop collage which is abnormally relevant.
Social media plays a huge part of Colbert’s work, which is interspersed with like buttons, Instagram filters, mobile phones and keypads, but ultimately, he is expressing today’s hyper-pop culture. However, he has moved on from Lichtenstein and uses everyday objects as a base, on which he juxtaposes narratives of old master hunt scenes, inspired by artists like Reubens who used violence freely in his work. By connecting this to everyday associations, such as sportswear, films, fashion and fast food, results in the backbone of this satire. This powerful combination of the old and new represents everyday life, and is a stern nod to artistic elitism as it is accessible to everyone.
Channeling mass culture in visual media, is not a new concept, and the three gallery show is like entering a limitless, overactive imagination. The viewer can try and keep up with Colbert's relationship to the philosophies and policies of the great artists from history, who are freely referenced, but ultimately you have to make your own mind up about the works and just enjoy his personal autobiographical journey which will no doubt take you to another world and spit you out.
Characterising the next generation of pop art, this “Neo Pop Surrealist”, has found a niche to capture contemporary culture and issues. Within a couple of months, these artworks will be dated, and within years will be priceless.
Aladdin comes to Hackney Empire
By Sara Darling
Time’s are a-changin, and everyone's favourite, genie in a bottle panto, has transformed itself smack bang into the east end of London- the island of Ha-Ka-Ney to be precise. There are no magic carpet rides, but expect puppets, pandas, high energy dance routines and extreme audience participation.
Hackney Empire is celebrating twenty years of panto, and it certainly knows how to do it well. Calling in great dames of TV and film, Clive Rowe, as Widow Twankey and Eastenders’ Tameka Empson, (who is noticeably shorter than she appears on the telly) as the Empress of Ha-Ka-Ney, the two have enough chemistry to set the stage on fire; Occasionally slipping into Jamaican patois, the Empress is just what you need for an evil mother- with blunt retorts and hand gestures, she holds her own in her big frocks and keeps the cast on their toes.
Meanwhile, the Queen of Wash Me Niks laundry, Widow T is still a wanton widow, and flirts like mad with any man she lays her eyes on. And that includes the audience! Be cautious of where you sit, as no-one is safe from her advances.
Gemma Sutton, who plays Aladdin (is a girl because that's tradition and not because it's trendy), and her (not really) ‘disfigured’ brother, Alim Jayda, with his panda mole, gets everyone in the crowd chanting, ‘Dishi Dishi, what a fitty’, and will actually become a bit of a heartthrob when he’s older!
However, there wouldn’t be much of a storyline without a Princess and a baddie. Cue Abanazar (AKA Jacob Peas Bogg) played by Tony Timberlake. As the wicked uncle, he is desperate to lure Aladdin away to uncover the lamp which will grant him the wishes he needs to get rich and rule the land. But Aladdin wants to get his paws on it, so he can woo Princess Ling-Mai, and impress the Empress, who after an ill-conceived decision to leave the ‘Eastern Union’ has bankrupted the Far East End province… One for the adults in the audience.
At nearly two and a half hours long (with interval) there are enough set changes and musical interludes to keep the most fidgety audience occupied, and director Susie McKenna has managed to create a modern day mashup of the original fable with added tap-dancing pandas!
Aladdin will run to January 6, 2019
Hackney Empire, Mare Street, London
Buy your tickets here
Editor: Christopher George
A touching portrait of Vietnam after the war, experienced through the eyes of a foreign observer and the voices of Vietnamese writers.
Hanoi. After the War is a story of hardship, poverty and endurance, but also of an ancient culture, of a brave and resilient people, of beauty amidst austerity.
Photographer John Ramsden guides us through poignant accounts of an unforgettable time and place, revealing a country that was largely cut off from the outside world. These stunning photographs, together with the memories of Vietnamese writers, constitute both an historical record and a faithful portrait of an epoch.
“The Hanoi I knew after the war – a subdued place, though of wistful beauty – is now a booming modern city. This is a journey back in time, to a city exhausted by forty years of conflict. The people whose lives are pictured here fought through the war and endured the hardships that followed. Though I could observe their daily life, any meaningful contact with the local people was forbidden in those Cold War days. The stories told in these pages take us into the inner world of the Vietnamese: bitter-sweet memories of a time which now seems vanishingly distant.”
Editor: Christopher George
A richly illustrated monograph account of Pablo Picasso’s complex relationship with Italy and Italian art.
Over 100 years ago Pablo Picasso journeyed to Italy for a few extraordinary weeks in Rome and Naples with Jean Cocteau, Igor Stravinsky and the company of Sergei Djagilev’s Ballet Russes. This trip, so important to the development of Picasso’s art during the post-war years, is the focus of a new, fully illustrated catalogue now out from Skira Editore.
Pablo Picasso: Between Cubism and Classicism 1915-1925 examines Picasso’s production in the years after his experience in Italy and the influence of the iconographic and cultural world to which he’d been introduced. The book focuses on Picasso’s experimentation with different genres, from still-life and portraiture to his playful collages during the Great War and to sophisticated realism during his time with Djagilev. Featuring essays from eminent international Picasso scholars and over 100 works from museums and collections around the world, this richly illustrated monograph offers an examination of the relationships and influences between Italian culture and art and one of the 20th century’s most well- known and respected artists.
Along with documenter photography of Picasso and his friends, candidly capturing this young man during the early 20th Century, casting light on a lost world. We often have the visual image of Picasso as older man in his later life, while this new publication allows us visit and experience via the younger artist via personal photographs, sketches and painting.
Editor: Christopher George
Accumulation: Legacy and Memory will bring a selection of contemporary and modern art from Bahrain to London for the third edition of Bahrain Art Week in London. Showcasing and celebrating Bahrain’s rich history as one of the oldest contemporary cultures in the Middle East,Bahrain Art Week will provide a platform for Bahraini artists to expand their international influence through London’s dynamic art scene, prior to Art Bahrain Across Borders 2019 fair.
Accumulation brings together works by 11 Bahraini artists whose practices address subjective experience, memory, notions of progress and the inevitability of decay. The exhibition is a meditation on the historical legacies of Bahrain from traditional crafts, industry and pop cultureto modernism’s forms, including art and architecture. The encounters that unfold through videos, paintings and sculpture draw links between the concepts of legacy, memory and value.
The works reflect the aesthetics of change and progress within multiple modernities and histories of Bahraini society, the development and influence of the oil industry, the growth and decay of an urban centre and aspirations to progress. The artists in the show span a number of generations of Bahrainis who are witnesses to many histories and changing perspectives.
Many of these artists’ works address the movement of human civilization through rapid development. For example, the paintings of Balqees Fakhro, Faiqa Al Hassan and and Salman Al Najem explore new visual tendencies inspired by symbols and ancient civilizations whilst creating new portraits of society.
Co-curator and ArtBAB director Kaneka Subberwal comments: Following a very successful exhibition in Paris in September, Art Bahrain Across Borders continues to traverse the globe with its next stop in Singapore later this month. I am then thrilled to present this edition of Bahrain Art Week in London in November enabling more people to access and appreciate the artworks being produced in Bahrain. It is an honour to be able to offer these gifted creators exposure such as this and widen the dialogue for the arts in the Middle East.
Bahrain Art Week aims to strengthen creative links between the UK and Bahrain, promoting cross cultural dialogue. The exhibition serves to introduce art collectors and enthusiasts to thetalents and vision of Bahrain’s artists. It comes under the Art Bahrain Across Borders initiative which takes the art of the artists of Bahrain across borders around the world. StrengtheningBahrain’s position in the Gulf as a regional arts hub, ArtBAB aims to inspire entrepreneurship, art education and the development of local skills. The fair will take place from Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th March 2019, under the Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa, President of the Supreme Council for Women.
Wednesday 21st – Wednesday 28th November 2018
Alon Zakaim Fine Art, 5-7 Dover St, Mayfair, London W1S 4LD
Editor: Christopher George
This November, installation artist Christina Reihill will recreate the prison cell of Ruth Ellis, the last woman in Britain to be executed by the state, after she shot her abusive lover, 25-year-old racing driver David Blakely in 1955.
Ruth Ellis’ execution on 13th July 1955 was a turning point in the death penalty debate in the UK. Ellis unapologetically declared her intent was to kill her lover, who she shot five times at point-blank range. In court she infamously stated:
“It’s very obvious that when I shot David Blakely I intended to kill him”
Many sympathised with the abuse she suffered at the hands of Blakely, who famously caused her to miscarry following an alcohol fuelled row about another woman.
Glad I Did It asks visitors to step into Ellis’ mind at this crucial moment in history and to consider how easily they could have been in her shoes. The installation examines the thwarted desires and impulsive behaviours that led to Ellis’ execution, and explores how we all can be victims to our own addictions.
Recalling the darkness of her own addiction to drugs and alcohol, artist Christina Reihill prompts visitors to questions how ambition, desire, loss and grief impacts our lives and asks the question ‘how dissimilar are we all from Ruth Ellis really?’
The prison files illustrate Ellis’ relationships with her family, psychiatrist, lawyer and even the prison warden, and reveal the woman behind the media speculation, who has been on trial by the British public ever since.
Ellis famously declared her reason for wanting to die: “I want to join him” she repeated despite efforts that could have saved her from the hangman’s noose. If she had presented herself as a victim this could have spared her execution . But she didn't. The artist believes Ellis wanted to die and appreciated her time in jail.
In her prison cell, Ellis, a Jewish nightclub hostess dismissed as a “tart”, could, for the first time in her life, experience the respect and dignity she needed. Here she was addressed as “Mrs Ellis” and listened to, and the relationship plagued by violence and alcoholism that her lover had tried to hide, was front page news.
The artist Christina Reihill claims that in all that has been written, staged, documented and filmed, Glad I Did It reveals facts about Ruth Ellis, never identified before.
GLAD I DID IT
14th November – 1st December 2018
Bermondsey Project Space
183-185 Bermondsey St, London SE1 3UW
Editor: Christopher George
Proud Central, London
23rd November 2018 – 13th January 2019
Proud Galleries is pleased to announce Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff, anintimate collection of Seeff’s acclaimed photographic sessions featuring influential 20th Century musical icons. From Johnny Cash and Patti Smith to Joni Mitchell and the Rolling Stones, Norman Seeff’s perceptive lens captures thought-provoking images of iconic artists session after session. The exhibition explores the sensitive collaboration between photographer and musician; whether photographed mid-smile or deep in contemplation, Seeff’s subjects are effortlessly captured in moments of spontaneity. Famed for emotionally engaging with hissubjects, Seeff’s photographs in Sessions in Sound are intimate, lively and authentic.
Born in South Africa, 1939. After working as an A&E doctor in Soweto, he moved to New York aged 29, eager to explore his creative passions. His break into the industry occurred when introduced to the renowned album cover designer, Bob Cato, who gave him his first major assignment – to photograph Robbie Robinson and The Band for the liner notes oftheir album ‘Stage Fright’. After getting lost on his way to Woodstock and arriving hours late, Seeff was disappointed with his own work. Embarrassed by the results, he simply pushed the
only image he liked in an envelope under the door of Cato’s brownstone. When Seeff finally gathered the courage to contact him some weeks later, Cato exclaimed “where have you been? I don’t have your number! They love the photograph and they want touse it for the album cover.” This project and its immediate recognition catapulted Seeff into prominence.
In 1973, Seeff opened his own studio on Sunset Boulevard, constantly evolving his sessions through an exploration of the creative process. His distinctive method of focusing on an authentic connection allowed Seeff to break down barriers between himself and his subject. Throughout his career, Seeff developed creative alliances with an incredible range of musicians, revealing the intimacy and vulnerability of the artist in the act of creation.
In 1985, Seeff photographed musician Ray Charles and later recalled how “Ray was testy at the start of the session. Ultimately, heloved the process and ended up calling me ‘brother’. It was a seminal session.” The exhibition also features a selection of unpublished photographs, including a portrait of Patti Smith from Seeff’s 1969 acclaimed photoshoot with Patti and Robert Mapplethorpe. Thissession has arguably become one of Seeff’s most well known, with the photographer describing that “after Robert’s death, Patti toldme these shots come closest to her remembrance of the profundity of the love between them.”
Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff aims to give an insight into the photographer’s process as he searches forspontaneous authenticity in his work. Remaining popular to a modern-day audience, Seeff’s images have a timeless quality, perhaps reflective of an uncanny ability to connect emotionally with each of his subjects. His distinctive stylised approach to session photography has certified his enduring legacy in both the music and photography industries.
Sessions in Sound: Photographs by Norman Seeff
Proud Central, London
23rd November 2018 – 13th January 2019
The only Clementine you need to know this November is The Living Fashion Doll
Review by Sara Darling
Miss Piggy might be in the prime of her life at (aherm), 40 something, but the newest puppet Queen on the block has come to ruffle her feathers! Slightly younger (although it’s rude to mention how much) Clementine the Living Fashion Doll, is 15 inches of pure fabulousness and Hollywood glamour of the old school variety.
Part Joan Rivers, part Barbie, she is blonde and beautiful, with a face that vaguely resembles Samantha from Sex and the City, but actually belongs to creator Mark Mander, who takes on the role of Clementine the sassiest fashion doll you are ever likely to meet!
If you happen to find yourself if Piccadilly on a dark and dismal night, you could do worse than head to Crazy Coqs in the stunning art deco building which houses the Zedel Brasserie, to see her in action. The ideal setting for a camp puppet show, the cabaret style seating and stage means no one is safe from her acerbic asides!
Having never witnesses a singing, dancing puppet before (or any kind of puppet come to think of it) I didn’t know quite what to expect! My distant memories of Sesame Street did not set me up for what I was about to experience, as the Clementine show was very much for adults only! Bursting with camp innuendo, gratuitous topless beefcake, and gags that only a puppet could make, you will be squirming in your seat!
As well as as the star, there were larger than life characters- Betty Barfly, Ricky the Rooster and Yvette the Usher, which the team of two visible puppeteers - Ruth Calkin and Mark Esaias sync perfectly!
Bringing the concept of a puppet show right up the 21st century, the concept of mixing film with the stage show is genius, so the audience finds out more about Clementine’s private life in flashbacks- complete with singalongs obviously!
If you’re looking to get in the mood for the party season, this 70 minute show is a must. Take your friends, partner or mum for a truly bonding experience, and be prepared for the Sound of Music!
Next show is on November 15th. Book your tickets here
Crazy Coqs, Brasserie Zedel, 20 Sherwood Street, London W1F 7ED
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