Culture

1 February 2024Review

Alona Pardo, Re/Sisters: A Lens on Gender and Ecology: Prestel, 2023, 320pp; £45 Women in Revolt!: Art and Activism in the UK 1970 – 90: Tate Britain; until 7 April; £17/£5; www.tate.org.uk Linsey Youngl, Women in Revolt!: Art and Activism in the UK 1970 – 90: Tate Publishing, 2023; 304pp; £35

When I was 14, in the winter of 1978, I travelled down to London from the north-west with my mum to see the Dada and Surrealism Reviewed exhibition at the Hayward Gallery. It remains my number one gallery experience.

45 years later, not one but two seminal feminist exhibitions in London have elbowed their way into my all-time gallery Top 10.

The last edition of PN profiled the remarkable Re/Sisters exhibition at the Barbican, which closed on 14…

1 February 2024Comment

Our new arts columnist takes a look at The Crown

I’ve decided to begin this arts column by talking about the Netflix series, The Crown, which has recently ended. Though I’m an ardent republican and had to be persuaded to watch it by my husband, Chris, this is such compelling drama, I quickly overcame my loathing for the Windsors and became hooked.

It begins in 1947, with king George VI (Jared Harris) coughing up blood in the bathroom, as he prepares for the wedding of his daughter Elizabeth (Claire Foy) to Philip (Matt…

1 December 2023Feature

A sneak-peak of a new exhibition at The Barbican

Erica Smith writes: In the book which accompanies Re/Sisters, Anna Feigenbaum defines three categories of eco-feminist: web weavers, tree huggers and water defenders. Feigenbaum suggests that the term ‘tree hugger’ dates back to 1730 when villagers in Bishoi, Kherjarli in northern India sacrificed their lives to save trees being cut down to build a new palace for the maharaja of Jodhpur. 250 years later, in the early 1970s, women from villages in the Garhwal Himalayas, northern…

1 October 2023Review

Gallery 46, 46 Ashfield St, London E1 2AJ, 11 – 17 September

At Gallery 46, a carefully renovated Georgian house in Whitechapel, curator Zayna Al-Saleh has gathered big names in art activism such as Vivienne Westwood, Gavin Turk, Adam Broomberg and Jeremy Deller.

Far from street protest, where Art the Arms Fair has its roots, some pieces are expected to fetch tens of thousands of pounds at auction.

Just as the DSEI arms fair four miles away offers luxurious hospitality to its corporate and military clients, this exhibition comments, with…

1 October 2023Review

Cheerio Publishing, 2023; 240pp; £30

The blurb of this book is a short hand-written note by the artist. It ends by saying: ‘It will bring you good luck and help you do sex better.’

That’s exactly the kind of schoolboy humour – from the biro of a white, 57-year-old man who was educated at Dulwich College with Nigel Farage – that might put a Peace News reader right off.

But I recommend that you put your prejudices aside, turn the book over and have a leaf through the pages, which document over 30 years of…

1 August 2023Review

The Palestine Museum, 2023; available free online at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=GXQzLdW4zVs  

Reem Kelani's online concert For the People By the Sea was hosted by the Palestinian Museum, in Birzeit, just a few miles north of Jerusalem. And while the physical museum is important, they are equally dedicated to curating online resources that shine a light on Palestinian experience and cultural life. 

Reem is a Palestinian singer based in London, from where this concert was live-streamed, and is available to watch for free all over the world. Because of the Nakba (…

1 June 2023Feature

How peace campaigners are using TikTok for Peace

With a billion users every month, TikTok has gone from a social media platform known for silly dances to a powerful political weapon. This has been demonstrated by the fact that two successive US presidents have tried to ban the app on ‘national security’ grounds.

Image Israeli soldier and social media influencer Natalia Fadeev gives her 2.7mn TikTok followers short, generally flirtatious, videos which often contain militaristic pro-Israeli…

1 April 2023Feature

A counter-history of the SAS

The 22nd Special Air Service regiment, better known as the SAS, occupies a unique place in the British public consciousness. For many, it embodies notions of an elite level of valour and heroism coupled with the mystique of state secrecy and a certain roguish prestige.

Even within the military, these troops are often seen as almost supernaturally tough and skilled. A sense of barely-governed violence attaches to them, which results in nicknames like ‘blades’ and ‘pilgrims’.

The…

1 April 2022News

Climate activists have recorded two major successes in their campaign to stop oil company sponsorship of cultural institutions.

Scottish Ballet ended its partnership with BP (formerly ‘British Petroleum’) on 31 January. The ballet company said its partnership deal no longer ‘aligns with the company’s green action plan – to be carbon neutral by 2030’.

Three weeks later, on 22 February, the National Portrait Gallery in London announced that it had also ended its BP sponsorship…

1 December 2021Comment

Ambrose Musiyiwa interviews the author of a ground-breaking oral history

'I Was Content and Not Content': The Story of Linda Lord and the Closing of Penobscot Poultry (Southern Illinois University Press, 2000) explores the impact of industrial decline in the US through oral history.

Central to the story is Linda Lord, a veteran of Penobscot Poultry, a factory in Belfast, Maine, who was one of the 400 people who lost their jobs when the plant closed in 1998. Lord worked at the plant for more than 20 years and lost the sight of one eye on the job.…

1 October 2021Comment

Ambrose Musiyiwa meets the poet Catherine Okoronkwo

Recently, I interviewed the poet Catherine Okoronkwo, who is the advisor on racial justice to the bishop of Bristol, Vivienne Faull, helping to deliver on commitments made following last year’s Black Lives Matter protests and the toppling of the Edward Colston statue in Bristol.

Okoronkwo, who was born to Nigerian parents and grew up in the Middle East, is currently vicar of All Saints and St Barnabas in Swindon.

Okoronkwo sees her father, who passed away recently, as one of…

8 December 2020Review

Dissent Games, 2019; £29 plus p&p. www.disarmthebase.com; dissentgames [at] gmail.com

From the household copy of Risk to the paintable figurines of Warhammer to the eternal Chess, war is a fixture of many boardgame genres. Why then should it be so surprising when a game designer subverts the expected formula of war games: lots of little men being pushed around a board and then falling over?

Jessica Metheringham’s Disarm The Base does just this.

The goal of the game is not to kill people but to disarm warplanes that will be used against…

8 December 2020Review

Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road, London NW1 2BE. Tues — Sun until 8 March. Free.

Play Well is a wonderful, joyful, mind-prodding exhibition at the Wellcome Collection in Central London on the importance of play in child development, in mental healthiness and emotional resilience.

It reaches from Rousseau’s treatise on education to computer gaming. The pedagogies of play shaped Paul Klee’s art, Buckminster Fuller’s design, the Bauhaus movement and Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture and from town planning to identity politics toys and psychotherapy.

8 December 2020Comment

It's too important not to sing just now, says Penny Stone

When the world is in such a turbulent state, it can seem hopeless to ‘just’ sing songs.

I am a great believer in music and action working together, but it is also true that simply singing songs can help to change ideas and perceptions (for better or for worse!).

Music is powerful – if singing songs wasn’t a powerful human act, then governments and dictators wouldn’t bother to ban them.

To give a few of examples, Edwin Starr’s ‘War – yeah, u-huh, what is it good for?!…

8 December 2020Comment

Pat Gaffney reviews the new biopic of Franz Jägerstätter

It is not often that we see our peace heroes on the big screen. It can be a source of great joy or a complete disaster. So it was with some anxiety that I watched A Hidden Life, written and directed by Terrence Malick, telling the story of Franz Jägerstätter and his wife Franziska (‘Frani’).

The name may be familiar to readers. Franz was an Austrian conscientious objector who refused to serve in Hitler’s army and who was executed in Brandenburg an der Havel in 1943.