A Turner Prize Nominee comes to Firstsite: Lubaina Himid’s ‘Warp and Weft’

This Saturday 1st July sees the opening of Lubaina Himid: Warp and Weft, a survey of works by the 2017 Turner Prize nominee at Firstsite gallery in Colchester.

1. Naming the Money, 2004. Collection of National Museum Liverpool International Slavery Museum, and the artist. Photo Spike Island © the artist copy.png
Naming the Money, 2004. Courtesy the artist, Hollybush Gardens and National Museums Liverpool: International Slavery Museum. Photo Spike Island © the artist

A key figure in the Black Arts Movement, Himid first came to prominence in the 1980s when she began organising exhibitions of work by her peers, who were underrepresented in the contemporary art scene. Her diverse approach disrupts preconceptions of the world by introducing historical and contemporary stories of racial bias and acts of violence inflicted upon oppressed communities.

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A £10,000 prize will make this year’s HIX Award more exciting than ever!

The HIX Award is back this year and more exciting than ever with a £10,000 cash prize to be awarded to the overall winner thanks to new sponsors Coutts and Baxterstory! The award itself is even designed by art world legend Damien Hirst so artists, we’d suggest you get submitting as soon as possible!

The annual emerging art award, which is open to current students and recent graduates of UK art colleges alike, was created five years ago by restaurateur and art aficionado, Mark Hix, to give young artists a platform to showcase their work and take their first steps in their professional careers.

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Mark Hix

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Brexit themed art show opening in Fitzrovia this Friday – We interview the artist, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa

On Friday 19th May Gallery DIFFERENT will present 35-year-old contemporary painter, Tarek Sebastian Al-shammaa’s debut solo show Fall of Europe II (until 22nd May).

We at ArtAttack stumbled upon Tarek’s artwork last year and have been great admirers of his painting practice ever since. His painterly use of space is quite extraordinary, filling the canvas with symbols and figures that tell stories of our world within the greater context of mythology. Each tiny element he chooses to include says something powerful. No iconography is wasted.

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Thanksgiving, 2017, Acrylic and oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm

The artist’s main practice is history painting as he explores historical and mythological subject matter juxtaposing it with the harsh realities contemporary Western society. Within each of the epic paintings he presents the viewer with poignant psychological insight into his  own  life  and  heritage;  Al-­shammaa  is  half  French  and  half  Iraqi, and  so  has  found  himself  straddling two oft-­opposing cultures throughout his life.

Recurring  themes  across  the  young  artist’s  paintings  include  consumerism,  war, love,  lust  and  political  oppression,  as  well  as  the  opposition  and  even  conflict  of Western  and  non-­Western  culture  and  ideals.  In  the  body  of  work on view,  Al­shammaa  depicts  everything  from  iconic  myths like that of the Tower of Babel to mythical iconography such as Mother Earth, all within a present-day context.

ArtAttack contributor, Franzi Gabbert, had the chance to interview Al-shammaa in regards to his upcoming exhibition as well as his general practice.

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A fantasy of literature and art: Stephen Chambers’s ‘The Court of Redonda’ at the Biennale Arte

A fictitious royal court, a symphony of colour and a capricious cast of characters join together to create a fantasy constructed from literature and art — this is Stephen Chambers‘s monumental presentation, The Court of Redonda, currently on view as an Official Collateral Event of the 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia.

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Installation view, The Court of Redonda at Ca’ Dandolo. Photo by  FS@SCS.
The show which is presented by the Heong Gallery at Downing College, University of Cambridge and curated by Emma Hill takes its home at Ca’ Dandolo on the Grand Canal from now until 26th November, showcasing 101 portraits that represent a utopian society dominated by creators and known as Redonda.

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The synergy of sound: Paul Benney at La Biennale di Venezia

Self-taught artist, Paul Benney, will make his Venice Art Biennale debut from 13th May with his monumental installation, Speaking in Tongues.

Speaking in Tongues, 2014. Oil and resin on wood, 244 x 366 cm. [ CA PSB ] - Large.jpg

The 12ft by 8ft painting on show at the 14th century San Gallo Church, just north of St Mark’s Square is the centrepiece of an installation that includes sound and other smaller works in oil by the artist. Curated by James Putnam and Flora Fairbairn, this is the first time Speaking in Tongues has been shown outside of the UK.

The work itself is secular but draws on the New Testament story of the Pentecost in which the twelve apostles encounter the Holy Spirit and then begin ‘speaking in tongues’. Modifying and updating this familiar interlude, Benney has painted twelve artistic contemporaries of various ethnicities and religious backgrounds, with the aim of capturing a collective state of spiritual awakening.

Playing with the idea of narrative painting, Benney introduced a sound element to the work, inviting each of the subjects to record themselves sharing transformative moments in their lives. These are relayed through holosonic speakers placed around the church. At first the viewer hears hushed murmuring, however, when they stand in a precise spot they hear individual voices, an effect achieved via sound-focusing technology that isolates the viewer from their own reality and the outside world. Then come the subject’s revelations. These are poignant and sometimes shocking – one man tells of how he accidentally shot dead his best friend; another reveals the joy of becoming a father – and, in the context of a religious setting they create the experience of receiving a confession.

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‘[Art is] my armour in this world, fighting against all the sput’: ArtAttack Interviews Lilias Buchanan

Inspired by the Richard Brautigan cult classic, Sombrero Fallout: A Japanese Novel, young artist Lilias Buchanan has created a series of exquisitely detailed paintings to be debuted at Shapero Modern from 29th March – 11th April, 2017.

After reading Brautigan’s 1976 novel, Lilias became almost obsessed by the narrative, stopping people in the street who resembled its characters and practically buying eBay out of sombrero postcards. The result is this upcoming exhibition of technical, charming and at times chilling artworks.

Familiar desert landscapes intertwine with striking elements of collage and pencil drawings depicting strange encounters. Not having read the book makes it a bit tricky to figure out what’s going on, but somehow at the same time seems to make the work all the more intriguing.

We were delighted to be able to speak with Lilias about her practice, this body of work and what’s to come for the London-based artist, whose work is already in the collection of HRH the Prince of Wales.

PhantomsandFantasies

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Investigating the ‘Other’: Ben Edge ‘FOLK RENAISSANCE’ at CNB Gallery

Camden-based artist Ben Edge talked to us last week about his debut solo exhibition, Folk Renaissance – an ode to the detail and craft often found in Folk and Naive Art as well as the traditions of religious Renaissance painting – which opens March 13th at CNB Gallery in Shoreditch.

Edge’s paintings channel Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s allusion that “Man can stand anything except a succession of ordinary days.” By doing so, Edge’s work investigates and celebrates the ‘other’, presenting the viewer with a critical and psychological insight into the human story.

14) The life of Peary
‘The Life of Peary’ | Courtesy of the Artist and CNB Gallery.

Impulsive, daring and intimate, his work champions the illicit; portraying people who live beyond accepted social and cultural norms, whether they are artists, arctic explorers, circus performers or musicians. By reversing the belief that out of folklore comes contemporary culture, Edge not only turns unsung heroes into icons, but also transforms the orthodox portrait into a poetic metaphor for the friability of life.

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Celebrating South Asian Art: Interview with Annoushka Hempel, founder of the Colombo Art Biennale

2nd December marks the opening of the much anticipated, 4th annual Colombo Art Biennale (CAB), the world’s largest and most significant celebration of contemporary South Asian art and culture.

Attracting over 2,500 visitors in its last edition, this year’s CAB, which is themed ‘Conceiving Space’ is curated by Alnoor Mitha and seeks to reimagine traditional concepts of the ‘spatial’ in relation to boundaries and engagement. It will focus on emerging talent, including over 60 international and local artists, among them Faiza Butt (UK/Pakistan), Cristina Rodrigues (Portuguese) and Chila Kumari Burman (British/Asian)

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Dr. Priyantha Udagedara
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Abdul Halik Azeez

The event itself, was founded by gallerist and cultural ambassador Annoushka Hempel in 2009, its mission being to raise the profile of artists in this fast developing market. We are so happy to have had the opportunity so speak with Annoushka about the upcoming edition and to have her insight on what is certain to be among the top cultural experiences of the year!

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Pop Art Meets the Renaissance: Philipp Rudolf Humm at Riflemaker

In anticipation of Riflemaker‘s upcoming Being and Time, an exhibition of new works by  Philipp Rudolf Humm, we are thrilled to have been able to speak with the Belgian/German artist about his practise.

Humm’s paintings are infused with art history references, in particular of the Renaissance and Pop art. From these  inspirations and other sources, he creates playful mise-en-scènes that allow him to comment on the world around him.

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Indoctrinated, Oil on canvas; 2016. Courtesy of the Artist and Riflemaker.

Humm works in oil, using bold colours and familar scenes. His paintings are both dramatic and fun. We anticipate this exhibition to be a truly exciting and unique event on your art calendar this year

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