Katharina Grosse: This Drove my Mother up the Wall

I saw this exhibition not too long ago, by artist Katharina Grosse, which I thought was pretty memorable. It’s called ‘ This Drove my Mother up the Wall’ at the South London Gallery, and features a room covered in boldly thrown paint on walls and doors.

I loved the rainbow effect of this piece – it’s vibrant, alive, messy but beautiful and while walking around the room, it felt like I was in a colourful wonderland. There’s colourrs on parts of the floor, ceiling and doors as well as the wall, although none of it is organised or structured.

I really love the feel of this piece – it reminds me of chaos but in a cheerful way – rather than being an angry piece or a hostile one, it is enthusiastic, a little like thoughts spilling out which can’t be contained.

I’m looking forward to seeing the artist’s next exhibition which is currently on at the Gagosian Gallery in London, which is another colourful, vibrant piece that is on until the end of the week – I recommend you visit if you get the time!

WALALA X PLAY at Now Gallery, Greenwich

I recently visited a very fun art gallery at Now Gallery in Greenwich, featuring WALALA X PLAY – a mirror maze of colours, stripes, polka dots and angles  created by digital print designer Camille Walala, and involves having to walk around, explore and look at the different patterns and colours. I love interactive art exhibits like this, which means we get to participate in such a simple way, and which everyone can enjoy in their own way.

The exhibit is in an interesting Pop Art 3D style, and encourages visitors to look at light, colours, reflections, shapes and playfulness, and is meant to give us a view of the human self, so that as we engage we come away with an experience which is influenced by the art.

If you’re around the area, I’d recommend a visit – it’s free and nice for a quick half hour of fun. The exhibition is on until 24th of September though, so hurry!

 

Palexpo: The Palestine Exhibition in London

Last weekend, my sisters Everyphototunity, HappyMuslimMama, my niece and I went to the Palestine Expo 2017, a huge event organised by Friends of Al-Aqsa, in order to raise awareness about the issues which are happening in Palestine today.

The timing of the event was not coincidental. This year marks a series of devastating anniversaries for Palestinians: a hundred years since the Balfour Declaration, 50 years of Israeli occupation and 10 years of the Israeli government’s blockade on Gaza.

–  Mondoweiss

This is a topic we are all quite passionate about, as there is so much conflict, struggle and hardship for the citizens of this country, which is still prevalent today. As Muslims ourselves, it is hard to hear about the human rights which are being oppressed in this country, and the fact that this is continually being ignored – by the media, the Western governments and the rule-makers of their own country.

The Palestine Expo was a range of seminars and talks, exhibitions, film showings, workshops and interactive areas for people to walk around, to listen to speakers and get to know more about the country’s rich heritage and history.

Everywhere we went, there were strong messages about what is happening today in Palestine as well as Israel, and what we can also do to raise awareness, help the organisations who are friends of Palestine, and also support ethical companies.

We managed to sit and listen to a few lectures which were pretty emotional, informative, inspiring and moving. Firstly was Dr Inas Abbad, a Palestinian activist, teacher and researcher who spoke about her home, about how their identity was slowly being erased, with their roads, streets towns and even names being changed, and the continuous censoring, lack of education and danger that follows school children as they go to school every day. Secondly was Ronnie Barkan, an Israeli human rights activist and conscientious objector, who spoke about his support for the struggle. I found it really interesting that he pointed out the various things the Israeli government has done to hide their actions, such as mis-labelling passports in English and in Hebrew. Thirdly was Soheir Asad, a Palestinian activist and Human Rights lawyer who spoke about the legal routes that the Israeli government had taken, land laws which were used to take land from Palestinians and the way this was used against them in courts. Lastly was journalist Yvonne Ridley, who is also a political activist, who spoke about the injustices she had seen, about the images which have stayed with her since she was a child and the disillusionment she felt when she realised the lies and distortion of the media.

We also managed to catch an amazing talk by journalist John Pilger (which ended in a standing ovation), in which he talked about his experiences in Palestine, and the ways he had been blocked in reporting the truth – but also the ways people’s mentality was changing so that they were unwilling to stay silent in face of injustice.

There were several places for us to leave our messages of hope throughout the expo – a giant wall of messages, pinned postcards, and even a tree to hang our words. It was pretty inspiring to see such positive words, beautiful messages to support our fellow Muslims and humans from across the country.

We also managed to try some Palestinian cuisine during the lunch rush, and tried some seasoned chicken wraps from Tabun Kitchen, which was pretty tasty (although cold!)

There was plenty of opportunity to walk around and explore, and we saw lots of beautiful pieces of art, as well as some story-telling shows and some documentaries about Palestine which were on show. I love that there was so much to see and do, and that there are a lot of similarities to Pakistan and my family’s village, which has a focus on story-telling, culture and a peaceful Islamic way of life.

It was a pretty informative day for all of us, there were a lot of things which made a lot more sense to me by the end of the day, and it was amazing to see so much support from Muslims and non-Muslims at the show. There was a protest briefly outside the venue from anti-Palestine protesters, but this didn’t discourage anyone from attending the event, and I liked that there were no shows of arguments or clashes as a result – people just left the protesters to it, and they slowly dispersed.

I would highly recommend to everyone that they do their most to find about this issue – even though we don’t live in Palestine, it is an issue which affects all of us. It isn’t enough just to know that this is happening, but to understand why, what we can do to help, and how to  make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Lumiere London 2016: Lighting up a city

My sister and I were lucky enough to see all the beautiful lights which were set up last week for Lumiere London, one of the country’s biggest light festivals. We managed to see most of the light installations – out of 40 of them we only missed around three or four.

I won’t describe them too much because there were so many, and because the pictures looked amazing – the lights were looked beautiful in the night and there was such a nice atmosphere of tourist and Londoners all out at the same time exploring the different streets with installations.

Mayfair and Bond Street

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Regent Street and Carnaby Street

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Pall Mall and The Strand

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Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square and Westminster

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Kings Cross

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We spent about four hours walking around all over London, but it was great fun and we managed to find spots of London we hadn’t been to before!

You can see more pictures on my sister’s blog, and also on my instagram account too. Did you manage to see any of these?

The Chocolate Festival 2015, London

I mentioned before that I went to the yummy Chocolate Festival last weekend, and had a pretty fun time seeing chocolate being shaped into amazing things, as well as trying different flavours and new skills.

I took a good few hundreds of pictures, so apologies in advance for all of the photos below, but I wanted to post all the amazing stuff I saw which caught my eye, and which was being displayed.

I’ll start off with the amazing sculpted and shaped chocolate pieces which were for sale, and which we ended up buying a few of because we liked them so much, and the prices were reasonable!

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There was plenty of talent on display, such as these chocolate moulds of celebrities’ faces, and which made me wonder whether it would be worth getting one done myself! (Probably  not, my husband would just eat it).

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I loved the other types of treats which were available, from Turkish Delight, candied nuts, fudges, brownies, cookies, cupcakes, marshmallow pieces and biscuits, which were all displayed in abundance for sale. Suffice to say, we bought a few of these as well!

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There were also gorgeous macarons and beautiful treats which were almost too pretty to eat. There were a lot of beautiful boxes of decorated chocolate pieces and hand-painted, luxurious chocolates which were a little more pricey, but made amazing presents or would look lovely for an event or afternoon tea.

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And of course, I have to mention the plenty of samples to taste at almost every stall we stopped at! We tasted mango fudge, blueberry fudge, chewy cookies, passionfruit flavoured chocolate and lots more, and it was pretty fun to try something new and see what we could add to our palate.

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We also made a quick visit to the cheese and wine tasting section, although this wasn’t really our bag so we didn’t stay that long, but we did enjoy looking at all the different types (and sizes!) of the cheeses.

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We also found a lot of other treats which we thought were amazing, such as the chocolate samosas (which I wanted to bring home and trick someone with, but didn’t end up doing!) and the Shakespeared Heroine chocolates, where each flavour of chocolate was named after a heroine from a play.

We had a pretty amazing time at the show, and went home feeling pretty satisfied with what we’d seen (and eaten). We had fun with the free photobooths which were available, and spent a nice day indulging ourselves (which I had been waiting to do all week!), and took plenty of photos. This is the first chocolate festival I’ve been to, and it was nice to see the different varieties and talents which are out there, which you don’t see in the usual stores. There was also another cake show the next day in another location which we wanted to go to as well, but we had a family wedding and couldn’t make it, but it’s made me want to go to more foodie festivals to discover new flavours and tastes!

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Weekend Pretty…Rainbow Silhouettes

I’ve been playing around with sunlight and glass (mainly my jewellery at the moment!) to see what kind of results I get, particularly because I love the beautiful, vibrant rainbows which are refracted onto the surface. These are just some pretty rings with crystals and stones which reflected onto the plain surface that I positioned in various angles to get the best light from. Here’s a few of my better shots of the silhouettes and the rainbow colours:

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I played around with these to combine the shadow images in one picture so that there was a complete montage of silhouettes and rainbow reflections. I’m not sure if the end result is better combined or rather than with each one separate, but I still kind of like it. While this has given me an interesting exercise to play around with, I think I have a lot more to experiment with in terms of lighting, colours and using different objects – so perhaps more pictures coming soon!

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Quirky Musical Art – Music Artists made of Random Stuff

We saw this at Ripleys! which we loved – various portraits of musical artists made of things like sweets, cassette tape, license plates and phonebooks (generally the kind of stuff we find lying around at home, but these guys made good use of it).

I love how creative some of these are, they’re funky and well made – I love how the musician’s faces are captured so well!

China The Middle Kingdom: A Golden History

I went to a Chinese exhibition a while ago, which focused on the China and it’s Dynasties (otherwise known as Zhōngguó or The Middle Kingdom), with varying clothes, artefacts and antiques from different eras. I loved the beauty of this period, the delicate, detailed art and the elegance in all of the artifacts, from the clothes to the engraved furniture, and even in the detailed warm masks and the beautifully quirky tea-pots!

I won’t say much more, as the pictures below can do most of the talking – but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition, China has always been a country which I’ve been fascinated with and it’s always nice to see things that I’ve read in books come to life in the museums!

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Paul Friedlander’s Beautiful Kinetic Light Sculptures

Paul Friedlander is a scientist, artist and extraordinaire – just look at his beautiful light sculptures to see how he has managed to merge science into beautiful art. Friedlander focuses on kinetic light art, which primarily uses spinning strings and something called chromastrobic light, which is light that changes colour faster than the eye can see, so that it creates moving shapes.

The best (and perhaps simplest) way to explain the way the science works would  probably be this: “The vibrating string becomes invisible, but the white light that’s being reflected off the rope becomes visible in an exchange that lets our eyes see magic, as real as science can make it.”

The end results are beautiful, giant rays of lights which become beautiful sculptures. Friedlander has taken this further over the years by manipulating the colours, shapes and sizes over the years, in his exhibitions and tours to various countries. I love how spectacular these sculptures look, and how fluid and colourful they are. I’m waiting for Friedlander to announce an exhibition in London so I can visit and ooh-and-ahh at them, but in the meantime I suppose I’ll have to swing some ropes around and see if any sparks come off them!

You can visit his website for more images from his various tours and exhibitions in the last 14 years, or otherwise have a look at some of his videos to see how the light sculptures look like in motion – or read his bio and more about Paul Friedlander on his page here.

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All images belong to Paul Friedlander

The Kathakali Exhibition – the art of South Indian classical dance

I visited the Redbridge Kathakali exhibition yesterday, which was a small exhibition about a mainly male-classical dance, which originates from Kerala in South India. I thought it was quite an interesting exhibition, as I have heard of ‘kathak‘ dance which is a classical dance from India which is popular amongst men and women, but wanted to see how the South Indian Kathakali is related to this.

Kathakali (like kathak itself) is not just dancing – but about telling stories. I was surprised to learn, for example, that the classical dance incorporates sign language to express emotions (such as fingers opening outwards to signify a flower), which I think adds layers of complexities to the dance and the stories.

And of course the costumes were amazingly decorated. In my own culture, we have our own traditional styles of dress, accessories and even other adornments like mehndi – so it’s interesting to see the extravagantly and richly coloured layers of dress worn by these dancers – from the full on bright make-up, the intricate head-gear and to the several layers of robes and jewellery.

Definitely worth a look if you’re in the area – the exhibition’s free and there’s videos, costumes and models to look at.

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