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The Friday Arts Diary

Our cultural picks for the week ahead.

Yinka Shonibare
Anglo-Nigerian contemporary artist Yinka Shonibare poses next to his Fourth Plinth commission (Photo: Ben Stanstall, Getty Images)

Art

Yinka Shonibare, Pop! Stephen Friedman Gallery, London. 16 March – 20 April

Stephen Friedman Gallery is exhibiting a show of new works by British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, famed for his installation of a ship in a bottle on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth. Drawing on Shonibare’s observations on the financial crisis, the exhibition humourously explores themes of corruption and decadence. Shonibare critiques contemporary society’s penchant for luxury goods and the idiosyncrasies of the banking industry. Shonibare has re-worked of Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, where Christ is replaced by Dionysus – the mythological God of fertility and wine – surrounded by twelve over-indulged "disciples". The celebration of Dionysian excess continues in a piece called Banker, which portrays a well dressed mannequin suggesting a lewd act of self-pleasure with a champagne bottle. Figures depicted in these works are dressed in Batik printed cloth. The technique of textile manufacture and printing originated in Indonesia, and was mass produced by the Dutch and sold to west African countries, where it became a symbol of "African" identity. 

Film

Human Rights Watch Film Festival. London(Various Locations): Curzon Soho, Curzon Mayfair, ICA, Ritzy Cinema. 13-22 March 

Established in New York in 1994, and coming to London in 1996, Human Rights Watch has organised this annual film festival to shed light on issues of human rights abuse through film. This year’s programme covers four themes: traditional values and human rights (encompassing women’s rights, disability rights, LGBT rights) crises and migration, issues in Asia, occupation and rule of the law. Fourteen documentaries and five dramas will be screened, highlighting issues from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, North Korea, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Tanzania. Many films will be followed by Q + A sessions with filmmakers and experts.

Theatre

The Audience, Gielgud Theatre, London. Until 15 June

Based on the weekly private meeting between monarch and prime minister known as "The Audience", Peter Morgan’s latest play imagines a series of meetings between the changing incumbents of Number 10 Downing Street and the Queen over a period of sixty years. From young monarch to  grandmother, the play charts pivotal moments of the second Elizabethan reign. While ministers move on, the monarch remains a constant force, skilfully played by Helen Mirren. (The Audience is reviewed by Andrew Billen in the latest edition of the New Statesman.)

Dance

 Flamenco Festival (10th anniversary). Sadler’s Wells, London. 15- 27 March

Tante (song), palmas (handclaps), baile (dance) form the three pillars of the expressive Spanish dance form, Flamenco, dating back to the 15th century following an influx of Romani Gypsies via India, North Africa, and the Middle East. With expressive arms and powerfully stamping feet, the Sadler’s Wells will be putting on a spectacular display of performances by leading dancers and musicians in  the tenth edition of London’s annual Flamenco Festival. This year, there will be eight different performances in the main house and two special perfomances in the Lilian Baylis studio along with additional events taking place around the building. Dancers to look out for will be Israel Galvan and Eva Yerbabuena   On the 15, 16 and 22 of March, Sadler’s Wells will be holding a Spanish Food and Wine Festival in conjunction with the dance performances, where audiences will be able to sample traditional Tapas, Andalucian dishes all expertly matched with the best Spanish Wines. (This will need to be booked in conjunction to tickets to the festival.)