Culture

Gwen

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Set amid the slate-filled landscape of mid-19th century Snowdonia, this gothic tale of black-hearted capitalism features powerful performances from Eleanor Worthington-Cox and Maxine Peake.

It is a powerful story of grief, adolescence, suspicion and superstition that builds an atmosphere of intense dread, broken only by the realisation that the truth of industrialisation is more brutal than anything young Gwen (Worthington-Cox) can conjure in her imagination.

The Brink

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The Brink follows far-right icon Steve Bannon and chronicles his activities for over a year. The film aims to see past the idea that Bannon is a complete mastermind, and it does this well, as it shows how the far-right movement has many flaws. Moreover, it also shows the many contradictions within the far-right.

Bikini Kill

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Kathleen Hanna, who originally went into music with a mixture of experience in stripping and spoken word, shook up the grunge music scene of the 1990s with a unique perspective and vocal anger. Bikini Kill, the band Hanna fronts, made a name for itself with punky honesty, shame-free sexualisation and an outspoken bluntness on controversial topics that weren’t spoken about (and often still aren’t), even after the punk movement had opened up the music scene.

Get Up, Stand Up Now

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Somerset House is celebrating the past 50 years of Black creatives in Britain through its new exhibit Get Up, Stand Up Now. The exhibit provides snapshots into the Black British experience. It is designed to shift the perspective of British history through the lens of Black art and expression.

Each room contains a variety of creative media: music, dance, photography, film and more. It highlights the way in which Black Britons have and continue to carve space in British society.

Paula Rego: Obedience and Defiance

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The title of this exhibition, which spans Portuguese artist Paula Rego’s output from the 1960s to the present day, succinctly describes the tensions expressed in her complex work. Rego’s experience and imagination are particular to Portuguese society —starting with growing up under Salazar’s savage fascist dictatorship and the weight of the Catholic Church. But her works go beyond the particular to comment on the human experience — particularly women’s — in all oppressive, hierarchical societies.

The Art of Persuasion: Wartime posters by Abram Games

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The Art of Persuasion at the National Army Museum is a fascinating exhibition of Second World War posters produced by the incredibly prolific and inventive artist Abram Games (although artist is not a term he liked to use about himself. He preferred the term “graphic thinker”). It’s also an insight into how the Second World War was seen by very many of its ordinary participants, military and civilian.

Five things to do or see this month

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Keith Haring
Tate Liverpool, 14 June to 10 November
Keith Haring emerged from the New York art scene of the 1980s, taking grafitti, pop art and club culture as inspiration. He used public spaces and new media in a determination to break out of the restrictive spaces of art galleries. And he was an activist, responding to issues from racism to homophobia; AIDS awareness to climate change. This is the first major UK exhibition of his work. Definitely one to catch.

Not Waving, but Drowning

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Laid-back, sensitive and dreamy — nothing less could be expected from Croydon rapper Loyle Carner’s second album. Although perhaps not packing as much of a punch instrumentally as his debut released two years ago, the album has some impressive features. Jorja Smith, Sampha and Tom Misch all make appearances, as well as an excerpt from south London rap giant Giggs.

But by far the most impressive aspect of Carner’s art is his beautifully poetic lyricism, effortless flow and intimate, honest portrayals of his emotional world. In this, Carner has not yet failed to deliver.

Nothing Great About Britain

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At a time when the music industry’s fat cats are once again tightening their grip on the grime scene, Slowthai’s highly anticipated new album defies genre boundaries with a dirty, grimy album of class struggle and resistance.

Fresh off his “99p tour”, the 24 year old’s debut LP, Nothing Great About Britain, is a refreshing injection into the UK hip-hop scene, combining multiple genres that were popular during his childhood in Northampton. This has secured Slowthai (Tyron Frampton) a place at the top of the UK grime scene.

The Flood

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The Flood opens with these words: “Currently some 70 million individuals have been forcibly displaced by persecution, conflict, and violence around the world… Over 18,000 have died while trying to reach Europe in the last five years alone.”

Based on interviews with migrants and ex-Home Office officials, this dignified and dramatic film describes the horrors and risks endured by people seeking refuge in Europe, and the chilling, politicised calculations of the UK border agency.

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