Wikio - Top Blogs - Religion and belief

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Who are you?

Grayson Perry's Who Are You? exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery, linked with his Channel 4 series of the same name, raises important and interesting questions about the nature of identity. Perry writes:

'The fourteen portraits in this exhibition, displayed among the Gallery’s Collection, are not primarily concerned with what the subjects look like. They are images about the nature of identity, snapshots taken from the narratives of people’s lives. Our sense of ourselves feels constant but our identity is an ongoing performance that is changed and adapted by our experiences and circumstances. We feel like we are the same person we were years before, but we are not.

As my subjects I have chosen individuals, families or groups that somehow represent some important facets of the nature of our identity. I have attempted to portray the character of the identity journey they are facing. They have changed religion or gender, they have lost some of their physical or mental faculties, they have lost status, they belong to a group that is hoping it will be seen differently by society. All of them, I thought, show us something of the negotiations we are all involved in, unconsciously or otherwise, around who we feel we are and how we are seen.

For most of us, most of the time our identity works for us so we do not question it. But when it does not feel right, or is under threat, then we are suddenly made very aware of how central and vital our identity is.'


The Who - Substitute.

Post Pop: East meets West

Post Pop: East meets West at the Saatchi Gallery 'brings together 250 works by 110 artists from China, the Former Soviet Union, Taiwan, the UK and the USA in a comprehensive survey celebrating Pop Art's legacy. Post Pop: East Meets West examines why of all the twentieth century's art movements, Pop Art has had such a powerful influence over artists from world regions that have had very different and sometimes opposing ideologies.

The exhibition celebrates the art being produced in these four distinct regions since the heyday of Pop, and presents them in relation to each other through the framework of six themes: Habitat; Advertising and Consumerism; Celebrity and Mass Media; Art History; Religion and Ideology; Sex and the Body.

Although from fundamentally different cultures and ideological backgrounds, the artists in this exhibition play with imagery from commercial advertising, propaganda posters, pictures of the famous as well as monetary and patriotic motifs in wry and provocative works that unmistakably reference the Pop Art movement which emerged in America and Britain in the 1950s and 1960s. In the Soviet Union region these works draw attention to state control, conformity, ceremony, pomp and the façade of unanimity amongst the people; in America and the UK they serve as a critique of commodity fetishism, the cult of celebrity and our mass-produced, status-driven man-made world; and in Greater China as commentary on the social dislocation created by a new super power's fascination with wealth and luxury following a period of extreme austerity.'

Wallpaper says, 'You'd think a generation of artists raised in the relative absence of religion would have escaped the pull of iconography. But therein lies the conflict in 'Ideology & Religion', perhaps the show's strongest section. If you're not scared straight by 'Die Harder', a screaming steel crucifix spiked with coat hangers by Turner Prize-nominee David Mach, you will be by the 12 shrouded figures worshipping at the altar of carved-wood toast slices by Anatoly Osmolovsky.'

Patricia Manos highlights, 'Moscow-based Irina Korina’s Chapel (2013), a structure of what looks like stained glass emerging from behind a thicket and a corrugated metal fence, and which deals with the idea of Socialist utopia as dol’gostroi, a construction project abandoned for lack of funds. Chapel is luminous and puzzling, with a touch of the seductive sadness that draws people to ruin-porn in the first place. It also shows a persistent optimism about the revolutionary potential of beauty, something that makes ‘Habitat’ probably the most conceptually cohesive part of the whole exhibition ...'


Rhiannon Giddens and Lalenja Giddens Harrington - I Know I've Been Changed.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

In The Wilderness: Preparing for Public Service

In The Wilderness: Preparing for Public Service is an exhibition for Lent featuring paintings by Adam Boulter and poetry by Malcolm Guite which will be St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey, from 17th February to 2nd April 2015.

The Biblical wilderness with its rocky mountainous desert has been a place of sanctuary and transformation for prophets and holy men since the dawn of history. Here Abraham and Jacob encountered the divine, Jesus confronted the diabolical, St Paul and the early monks learnt to speak the truth to those who would listen, and contemporary Christians seek refuge from the wars that are ripping apart this region. Here many stories and cultures that have shaped civilisations are layered onto the land. These paintings by Adam Boulter and poems by Malcolm Guite uncover some of these stories and tie them into our lives and times.

Adam Boulter’s work has revolved around landscape and religious themes. It is concerned with a sense of belonging and of the sacred in places as diverse as the inner-city and deserts, and in ancient stories, myths and sacred texts. Adam has exhibited frequently in and around London, and currently lives in Jordan, where he is the Mission to Seafarers Chaplain to the port of Aqaba.

Malcolm Guite is a poet and singer-songwriter living in Cambridge. He is a priest, chaplain, teacher and author. He also plays in Cambridge rock band Mystery Train, and lectures widely in England and USA on poetry and theology.


Windows on the world (327)

London, 2015


Dire Straits - Telegraph Road.

Sophia Hub update

Ros Southern writes:

'On Tuesday at enterprise club the speaker will be Begonia Belmonte who runs a catering business and she's very shy! 12.30 for 12.45 prompt start. Read more here.

Last Tuesday we had a great session with our sleeves rolled up working on each other's business, particularly social media help. Click here.

Timebank skills swap is today. Last minute offers coming in. Read more here.

Thanks to Lynette St Cyr Caesar for giving a bit of an update about her business. Please send me more folks, especially with links so that we can promote and celebrate your journeys. See it here.

This week we are having an exploratory meeting with the Council about green business. Will keep you posted.'

Ros Southern, Coordinator, Sophia Hubs Seven Kings
M: 07707 460309 T: 0208 590 2568
T: @sophiahubs7k FB: Sophia Hubs Seven Kings blog:
c/o St Johns Church, St Johns Road, Seven Kings, IG2 7BB


Paul Mealor - Salvator Mundi: Greater Love.

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Guildhall Art Gallery: Dichotomies of spirituality and consumerism

To coincide with its 15th anniversary, Guildhall Art Gallery has undergone a radical rehang for the first time since the current building opened in 1999. The £600,000 renovation improves the visitor experience through illuminating the artworks with a new state-of-the-art lighting system, and creating more flexible themed display spaces.

Julia Dudkiewicz, Principal Curator, says ‘The rehang has been a labour of love and it has been a great privilege to work with such outstanding and internationally significant collections. The Guildhall Art Gallery is a real hidden gem in the heart of the City. It was one of the first public galleries in London, predating Tate Britain by 15 years, and today houses one of the largest and best collections of Victorian art in the world.’

The Gallery shows a changing display of about 250 artworks from its collection of paintings, drawings and sculpture, in addition to a programme of temporary exhibitions. A rich variety of Victorian paintings can be seen as you enter the Gallery, displayed in original nineteenth century style. The collections illustrate the key artistic movements and influences of the Victorian period, from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, to Orientalism, Classicism and narrative painting. Among the Victorian paintings on display include Rossetti's La Ghirlandata, Millais' My First Sermon and My Second Sermon and John Constable's large landscape, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows.

Dudkiewicz has explained that the Victorian room showcases dichotomies on each side of the room, Materiality (Home and Beauty) contrasts with Spirituality (Faith) and Imagined Realities (Love and Imagination) are contrasted with the Realities of Life (Work and Leisure). Further dichotomies can also be found in the Undercroft Gallery where London is explored in terms of 'the effect of the elements on the city (ice and fire), destruction and reconstruction, spirituality and consumerism, and public versus private space.'

The new collecting policy of the Gallery focuses 'on the often controversial themes of money, wealth, the economy, trade, commerce and capitalism.' This policy is currently represented by Mark Titchner's Plenty and Progress wall sculpture. However some of the Victoriana also relates as Dudkiewicz notes in relation to scenes of street children by Augustus Edwin Mulready: “Poverty has not gone away. Is the heart of the City a proper place to make people think a little of social and spiritual issues, that money and materialism are not everything in life? We are going to try.” In his commentary on City panorama entitled City of Holy Dreams Chris Orr states, 'a large number of churches in the City of London are now being choked and outgrown by the new temples of commerce and finance. Cities are maelstroms of competing ideas.' 

The topography of cities has been Orr’s long-time preoccupation, frequently referencing historic panoramas whilst, at the same time, commenting on the fallible nature of human perception. He also loves narratives which are culturally ingrained in us, like Bible stories ... because they give a golden opportunity to the artist to directly open a dialogue with the viewer.'

His contemporary representations of the rapidly changing London skyline feature in an exhibition exploring Tower Bridge as an enduring source of artistic inspiration for painters, draughtsman, printmakers and photographers. The show (which is part of the 120th anniversary celebrations of the opening of Tower Bridge) brings together a diverse chronological selection of artworks exploring the different ways British and London-based artists have pictured the Bridge.

The earliest views by the Victorian maritime painter W. L. Wyllie are juxtaposed with the modernity of Frank Brangwyn‘s working river, through the dramatic wartime imagery of Charles Pears and the poetic conceptualism of Judith Evans and Arthur Watson's The Spirit of London. In addition, the London-based Ecuadorian New Expressionist Mentor Chico has been especially commissioned to create a vibrant, up-to-the-minute painting of the relationship between Tower Bridge and the City entitled Forever Imagical Tower Bridge 2014, conveying the vibrancy of the Bridge in relation to the City visitors, vessels and vehicles.


Ralph McTell - Streets Of London.

Proof of the intangible value of the arts and culture

Here is one piece of evidence for the value of the creative industries:

'Figures ... from a report produced by BOP Consulting for the City of London Corporation show that the City’s world-leading arts and culture cluster had a total economic impact of £247 million in 2013/14. Measured in terms of job creation, this is equivalent to supporting between 6,600 and 7,060 full time equivalent jobs. The cluster organisations together brought in an estimated 8.5 million visitors in 2013/14, an uplift of 9.9% from the 2011/12 baseline figure, and the value of ticket sales for these organisations rose by 11% to £55.5 million.

The City arts and culture cluster includes St Paul’s Cathedral, the Barbican Centre, the London Symphony Orchestra, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Museum of London, Tower Bridge, and the Tower of London among others.

As part of the report, the impact of Crossrail was examined. The authors found this could translate into an additional 991,000 visitors to the City each year when combined with public realm improvements and the development of the wider leisure and retail offer in the City.

Commenting on the launch of the report Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman for the City of London Corporation, said: “While we have all been long aware of the intangible value of the arts and culture to the City’s role as a world-leading financial centre, this report provides proof of their value beyond their obvious cultural merit. The cultural cluster supports jobs and growth in both the City of London and outside, and provides a huge variety of cultural opportunities for Londoners to enjoy.”

The full report is available here:


Ed Sheeran - The City.