March 07, 2023

72 hours in London

We work across the UK but much of it is done remotely, so it’s been a while since I hopped on a train heading south. So I took full advantage of 3 days in the capital, filling it full of art, architecture, music and food. Highlights were:

Whitechapel Gallery, Action, Gesture, Paint: Women Artists and Global Abstraction 1940-70.

An absolute explosion of colour and texture, not to mention emotion. It was hard to keep moving from painting to painting as each was so captivating, from the vibrant marks on canvas, to the scale of these incredible pieces. Well worth a visit. And there’s added visual bonuses in enjoying the Whitechapel identity, so timeless.


With a taste for exhibitions we headed a few tube stops along to one of my absolute favourite places, Barbican. Loved wandering around this concrete jungle, it feels so dystopian. The lake is just out of this world. It always makes me think, thank god they built this in London, if it was in Newcastle the council would have flattened it long ago. Anyhoo. As well as eyeing up the architecture it’s also a place to appreciate the brand, again another timeless identity that looks so right in it’s brutalist home.


Alice Neel: Hot off the griddle. Barbican

Following the theme of bold women artists we visited the Alice Neel exhibition. The people she met and the stories she told through her figurative work were mind blowing. So many characters throughout the exhibition. She created her collection of work predominantly at a time where figurative painting was no longer popular, through the abstract movement she carried on painting eccentric and often marginalised people, her belief in figurative work to capture ‘souls’ never left her. It was a fascinating body of work.

Abel Selacoe, Southbank Centre

A show at Southbank Centre you say, yes please! Well Abel Selacoe did not disappoint. His South African roots were at the heart of all of his pieces. Accompanied by an array of musicians, much of the music they played was improvised, with Abel leading on the cello and the others bouncing off one another we were hooked. At times the audience participated as Abel orchestrated us all to sing South African lyrics louder and louder, it was an unforgettable evening and such an experience to be part of.

Author: Sarah