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July 2022 / Diary / by Ali Howard

Culture Fix: July 2022

Exhibition

Africa Fashion
From 2 July, V&A

Coinciding with the publication of a book of the same name, Africa Fashion is the V&A’s latest sartorial deep dive, and going by the museum’s past fashion expos, we’re in for a treat. Through photography, video, textiles, music and visual art, the exhibition explores the vitality and global impact of the continent’s diverse fashion scenes, from the mid-20th century to the present day. See the work of pioneering Moroccan designer Naima Bennis; Imane Ayissi’s Mbeuk Idourrou collection for AW19; and IAMISIGO’s Chasing Evil collection for AW20 amongst a host of vibrant and pattern-rich garments.

Cromwell Road, SW7 (020 7942 2000; vam.ac.uk)

‘Chasing Evil’ collection, IAMISIGO, Kenya, Autumn/Winter 2020. Courtesy IAMISIGO. Photo: Maganga Mwagogo

Exhibition

Eternally Yours
Until 25 September, Somerset House

In the spirit of ‘make do and mend’, this timely exhibition explores ideas around care, repair, and healing with inspiring examples of creative reuse. Eternally Yours will showcase historical artefacts that embraced upcycling and repurposing, alongside recent work from artists and designers whose practice has repair at its heart. Highlights include the transformation of items salvaged in the aftermath of Japan’s devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami by Aono Fumiaki; Aya Haidar’s stories of survival sewn into the shoes of Syrian migrants; and photography from Richard Wentworth’s lauded Making Do and Getting By project. Partnering with sustainable lifestyle brand TOAST, the exhibition also sees a series of events exploring the concept of repair, including workshops and mending consultations with artists Bridget Harvey, Molly Martin and Ekta Kaul.

Strand, WC2R (020 7845 4600; somersethouse.org.uk)

Aya Haidar, He Walked from Turkey to Germany, Embroidery on Shoe Soles, 2018. Courtesy of Aya Haidar

Craft

Taste of Art
30 July, Bankside Hotel

In the final instalment of Bankside’s popular Taste of Art series, guests are invited to join creative nail-and-thread artist Imogen Morris in a three-hour workshop. In keeping with Morris’ portrait works, we’ll get the chance to create an  arresting eye motif by drilling, nailing, and stitching onto board. And if that all sounds like hungry work, the session finishes with a three-course slap up dinner at Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, the hotel’s art-filled restaurant.

2 Blackfriars Road, Upper Ground, SE1 (banksidehotel.com/taste-of-art)

Theatre

Tom, Dick & Harry
26 July-28 August, Alexandra Palace

Prisoner of war camp Stalag Luft III is best known in popular culture for the 1944 breakout that inspired the legendary 1963 film, The Great Escape. This new play, written by Andrew Pollard, Michael Hugo and Theresa Heskins, is told through top-secret information from World War II archives, which was classified until 1972. As a group of serial fugitives plot their latest escape, they begin an exhilarating game of cat and mouse with their Nazi captors. Hiding their covert activity in plain sight with gymnastic exercise, choir practice, and even cabbage growing, the men tunnel deep beneath the prison in the most intricate and audacious escape of them all… Expect dark humour, life-affirming drama, and awe-inspiring theatricality.

Alexandra Palace Way, N22 (020 8365 2121; tomdickandharryonstage.com)

Book

Articulations for Keeping the Light In
Published 14 July, Barbican Young Poets

Elevating vital young voices is this anthology of intimate and personal poetry written by 23 new and alumni members of the Barbican Young Poets programme. Now in its 12th year, the initiative aims to create space for writers aged 16-30 to connect and build a community, whilst supporting the development of their craft. Expect themes of dreams and memory, scenes of bliss, connection, sex and desire, as well as thought-provoking poems which hold up a mirror to trauma, brutality and isolation. Barbican Young Poets co-tutor, Rachel Long says: “The poems collected here are alive; electric, urgent, and capacious. They go beyond having their ‘finger on the pulse’ of now, they are it.”

£7.99, paperback (flippedeye.net)

Theatre

The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe
18 July-8 January, Gillian Lynne Theatre

 Typically a wintertime staple, this beloved children’s tale arrives in the West End this summer, bringing C.S. Lewis’ icy kingdom of Narnia to Drury Lane. But then, if our imaginations can stretch beyond the wardrobe, so can our seasonal assumptions. The production, which stars Samantha Womack as the nefarious White Witch, has been wowing audiences of all ages around the UK and Ireland. Director Michael Fentiman says: “This story, about a community battling hardship in the darkest of winters, who together find freedom again in the light of summer, couldn’t be more pertinent for these times.” Step inside!

Drury Lane, WC2B (020 3925 2998; lionwitchonstage.com)

Photos: Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Market

Crafty Fox  Market
17 July, The Crossing

Kicking off Crafty Fox Market’s summer season is a bumper event at King’s Cross. With over 100 stalls, the market will showcase some of the UK’s finest designers and makers alongside a mix of emerging talent. The antidote to shopping mass-produced high street wares, this is a chance to snap up the best in artisanal and sustainable design-led products across homeware, crafted ceramics, unique jewellery, fashion, artwork, organic skincare, childrenswear and more. You won’t go home empty handed.

1 Granary Square, N1C (craftyfoxmarket.co.uk)

Music

Summer Sessions
Throughout July, Ronnie Scott’s

Soho’s legendary jazz club continues its summer season with a sizzling line-up – and it is jam-packed from the 1st to the 31st July. Highlights include 10-time Grammy-award winning Arturo Sandoval. The Cuban-American musician is best known as a virtuoso jazz trumpeter but he’s also a whizz on the piano, timbales, keyboard and of course, on vocals. Harpist and vocalist Tara Minton will bring her impressionistic dreamscapes to the moodily-lit auditorium: expect ethereal vocals and soprano saxophone alongside those spine-tinglingly good string sounds. And don’t miss chanteuse extraordinaire Vanessa Haynes’ touching tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin.

47 Frith Street, W1D (020 7439 0747; ronniescotts.co.uk)