Welcome to this week’s Wednesday Wishes, for my pick of London’s Culture and a book to read on the way. Home again, you can read all about our cultural adventures in County Durham by clicking on the blue words. This week I have art created by Twins, art informed by data, museums reopening, a glorious garden and staying on a floral theme the Last White Rose.
Twins of the Week
Firstsite in Colchester is the reigning Art Fund Museum of the Year (see below for this year’s contenders) and I had never visited until last week. What lured me to Firstsite was The Singh Twins: Slaves of Fashion. The Singh Twins are twins, called Singh who create glowing works of art presented on light boxes. Slaves to Fashion explores the way that fashion comes at a human price and always has done. The origins of denim including the Indigo Famine, the story of cotton and the way that Empire expanded for trade and wealth. Every work looks beguiling beautiful at first glance and then you look closely to see the horror behind what we wear. Thought provoking stuff. After Firstsite Slaves of Fashion goes on tour first stop Norwich Castle Museum, on each stop the Singh Twins will select items from the museum collection to accent and highlight the issues raised. Slaves to Fashion is free to see and Colchester just a fat hour away from Liverpool Street Station.
Suns of the Week
Something a little different. The first place I visited on my return was the Open Data Institute. Set up by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Sir Nigel Shabolt ten years ago to help government and business build a trustworthy data ecosystem. Why was I there? Because they have a collection of art informed by and created by data. The latest addition is One Hundred Thousand Suns by Rohini Devasher a journey through the data held by the Kodaikanal Observatory shown on four screens. A work that is exceptionally difficult to do justice to in pictures but is profoundly moving … take a look at the link on the ODI website. All the works in the collection can be accessed online, of course!
Museum Reopening of the Week
Florence Nightingale would have been 202 this Thursday, to celebrate the Florence Nightingale Museum is to reopen. Ten days before lockdown the museum unveiled Nightingale in 200 objects to celebrate her bicentenary including her famous lamp. The museum is fascinating and the special exhibition still there ready to celebrate 202.
Garden of the Week
Bluebells are fading but rhododendrons and azaleas are in full flower at Leonardslee Gardens just beyond Gatwick. Not only are the plants spectacular the gardens are also dotted with sculptures by Anton Smit and there is a truly fascinating dolls house exhibition. We spent a long time ohhing and ahhing at the teeny tiny haberdashers, cottage gardens and school rooms.
Museums of the Week
The shortlist for the Art Fund Museum of the Year has been unveiled. This year has one of my long term favourites the Horniman Museum in London, the brand new Museum of Making in Derby, the People’s History Museum in Manchester, the Story Museum in Oxford and Ty Pawb in Wrexham. Four new and exciting places to me … have you been to any/all of the short listed museums?
Book of the Week
I love historical fiction especially written by Alison Weir. This week I have been immersed in Elizabeth of York: The Last White Rose by Alison Weir. Elizabeth was the daughter of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville, sister of the Princes in the Tower, wife of Henry VII, mother of Henry VIII. I knew about Elizabeth but had never really thought about her Alison Weir brings her to vivid life. Absolutely fascinating. Last week I visited Raby Castle home to Cecily Nevill Elizabeth’s grandmother on our tour of County Durham.
Disclosure: Thank you to Headline Books for a review copy of Elizabeth of York. If you click on the blue words and buy a book from Waterstones I will receive a small amount of money.
For more reading inspiration take a look at the latest edition of Cultural Wednesday’s Best Books 2021 or for exhibitions mentioned in previous Wednesday Wishes take a look at Best London Exhibitions or for ideas for Cultural Travels how about my Exhibitions Worth Travelling for 2022?
Where will you wander with Cultural Wednesday Wishes this week?