Émeric Lhuisset on the power and possibilities of photography

In 1972, Associated Press photographer Nick Ut snapped a nine-year-old naked girl fleeing the Napalm bombing with a group of children. In a single frame, ‘The Terror of War’ captured the horrors and human loss of the Vietnam war. The Pulitzer Prize-winning image helped change the course of history, sparking public outrage around the world. Shortly after the image was published, the war came to an end. ‘Théâtre de guerre’... Read More

V&A displays protest art by climate change activists Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is an exciting movement. This progressive collective, calling for urgent action on climate change through acts of non-violent civil disobedience and disruption, has grown into an international force. XR’s first public action was in October 2018, when it urged the UK government to declare an ecological emergency and commit to reducing emissions to net-zero by 2025. Now there are some 363 XR groups active in 59 countries... Read More

BMW and Art Basel tackle identity, migration and the slave route

‘An intercontinental and multinational geography describing the circulation of ideas between Africa, Europe and the Americas,’ is how Jamal Cyrus describes the concept behind his latest work-in-progress. The Houston-based artist is exploring areas of the United States, Europe, Africa and Latin America – tracing the migration of slaves and assessing their cultural impact along their journey on their past, present and future homes. His... Read More

Design Museum opens Hope to Nope, Graphics and Politics

I witness the global financial crash, enter the Arab Spring, observe Barak Obama’s vibrant presidential years, then Trump’s messy aftershock – sit in support of demonstrators in the Occupy movement and Deepwater Horizon oil spill, feel the shock and horror of the Charlie Hebdo attack and face the tragedy that is Brexit. The lack of windows and natural light in the basement gallery space at the Design Museum magnifies this feeling of complete... Read More

Radical design: Creatives at the frontline for change

Bertolt Brecht wrote: ‘Art is not a mirror held up to reality but a hammer with which to shape it.’ I grew up surrounded by politics. Raised in Iran at the height of its turbulent years, it was impossible not to be. Later, as an adolescent cocooned in the sanctuary of Europe, I rejected it all for I saw my life in the creative world where politics, seemingly, had little relevance. Now, as Europe peddles into the deep dark waters of dirty... Read More

Political art: Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy

Ai Weiwei’s work is full of contrasts and contradictions. They are at once robust and fragile, awkward and meticulously crafted, brutal and beautiful. The making reflects the message. Ai sculpts handcuffs from the precious jade, scribbles the Coca Cola logo on an ancient vase, and smashes another in a photographic sequence as a note on history, value, life. Ai Weiwei at the Royal Academy of Arts is the Chinese artist’s first retrospective... Read More

Ai Weiwei: exploring tension in ideology

Ai Weiwei has become internationally recognised for much more than his art. The Chinese artist’s persecution by Beijing has raised awareness – and concern – amongst the international art world over the darker side of the regime. It has in turn made Ai one of the most significant cultural figures of his generation, in China and internationally. #gallery-5 { margin: auto; } #gallery-5 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top:... Read More

Ai Weiwei’s 100m Sunflower Seeds

The latest installation to fill the enormous Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern is an inch-thick carpet made of over a hundred million tiny artworks collectively knows as Sunflower Seeds. Each intricately handcrafted porcelain sunflower seed carries its own unique note delivered by the skilled craftsmen of Jingdezhen. Sunflower Seeds is the work of Ai Weiwei and the eleventh in the Unilever Series to fill this challenging space at the London... Read More