Culture

Corita Kent: Power Up

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The cultural explosions that took place amid the social and political upheavals of 1960s America threw up extraordinary new forms of expression that articulated incendiary challenges to state injustices and atrocities of that postwar era.

Corita Kent was a radical artist, activist, designer and art educator whose exuberant, subversive and at times controversial work revolutionised typographical design and cried out against injustice. Corita seized pop art by the throat and set it to work for human liberation.

Richard II

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This production of Shakespeare’s history play is entirely produced, directed and performed by non-white women — a first for a production on a major British stage. The costumes, set and music are non-specific, sometimes African, Arabic or Indian. Around the theatre are banners made from photos of the cast’s ancestors from across the world.

The play concerns the emerging national identity and it is fascinating how different the many references to gender and race come across with this cast, raising a new commentary about their original meaning.

Bedrooms of London

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This exhibition of photographs by Katie Wilson documents the living conditions of London’s most disadvantaged children. It stands firmly within the mission of the Foundling Museum, in what was the Foundling Hospital set up by Thomas Coram in 1741. Coram’s purpose was to care for the estimated 1,000 children who were abandoned every year in London, resulting from the polarisation of wealth in the Georgian era. Today the site houses a museum and boasts the legacy of being the first children’s charity and public gallery.

Karl Lagerfeld, 1933–2019

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“Those social networks, there’s something sad about them. It’s like a talkative mirror where people talk to themselves.” So Karl Lagerfeld told Women’s Wear Daily in 2014. When the designer died in February, there was an outpouring of grief on social media from across the fashion industry for the self-styled pope of fashion.

Lagerfeld was known to hold contemptuous views of the same world he profited from. And social media was key to the promotion of both his businesses and highly recognisable personal image.

Rosa Luxemburg

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We first see Rosa Luxemburg in a snowy prison yard, guards patrolling the walls high above her. As she walks a raven hops beside her, the first of many references to Rosa’s affinity with nature. It’s 1906 and Rosa has been locked up in Poland for her involvement in the 1905 Russian Revolution.

Monsters and Men

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American cinema’s appetite for themes of race and class shows no sign of abating. This latest contribution from debut writer and director Reinaldo Marcus Green comes in a series of increasingly class-conscious movies.

Monsters and Men’s raw aesthetic and unapologetically direct style, stripped of the self-conscious pretensions of some of its predecessors, reinvents social realism for 2019. It makes for a gripping 90 minutes that propels us into the Brooklyn enclave of Bed-Stuy and its inhabitants’ problems, joys and struggles.

Love Sonia

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Love Sonia comes at a time when a 200 million-strong strike was held in India and 5 million women formed a wall of protest. The correlation between films about resistance and women’s rights in India and the explosive movements on the streets that the country has seen is not necessarily direct. But it is no surprise that the struggles that occur in the real world force the film industry to adapt to reflect and embolden the mood for change.

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