This Week in London – 10 years of Christmas at Kew; British and Chinese at the British Library; and, The Horror Show! at Somerset House…

Christmas returned to Kew this week with the launch of its 10th festive light trail. This year’s display features some past favourites as well as new light installations including Feathers by Pyrite Creative which features 16 floating UV feathers which sway in the breeze, LuminARTi’s Willow Hives which illuminate natural forms, and Illusion Hole by UxU Studio, a geometrically arranged pattern situated on the lake which presents visitors with an optical illusion in which water formed by light appears to flow into an unknown abyss. The popular Fire Garden has returned along with the Christmas Cathedral and a series of breath-taking projections dance across the surface of the Palm House and adjacent lake, set to a memorable soundtrack of much-loved Christmas classics. The display can be seen until 8th January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.kew.org/christmas.

Frank Soo at the Victoria Ground, Stoke, 1933. PICTURE: The Sentinel & StokeonTrentLive

A free exhibition exploring British Chinese communities and culture opens at the British Library tomorrow. Chinese and British celebrates the lasting impact of Chinese communities in the UK and presents personal stories and artefacts. Highlights include a hand-drawn map of China by Shen Fuzong – the first recorded Chinese person to visit the UK in 1687, a detailed doll’s house model of a Chinese takeaway, Ling Shuhua’s 1953 autobiography, Ancient Melodies, which was dedicated to Virginia Woolf who offered advice on drafts of her memoir, a fan made of bamboo slats and paper from mulberry bark in Hangzhou and pair of hand-embroidered shoes belonging to Kathy Hall, a London-based practitioner of traditional Chinese opera. There’s also trench art produced by Chinese Labour Corps workers during World War I, cigarette cards featuring Frank Soo, the first player of Chinese origin to play in the English Football League, and Rosanna Lee’s 2022 film Parallel which follows a family during their weekly ritual of going out for dim sum at the Pearl Dragon restaurant in Southend-on-Sea. The exhibition can be seen until 23rd April. For more, see www.bl.uk.

On Now: The Horror Show!: A Twisted Tale of Modern Britain. This display at Somersert House, divided into three acts – ‘Monster’, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Witch’, explores how exploring how ideas rooted in horror have informed the last 50 years of creative rebellion, looking beyond horror as a genre and instead “taking it as a reaction and provocation to our most troubling times”. The display features more than 200 artworks and culturally significant objects including Chila Burman’s If There is No Struggle, There is no Progress – Uprising (1981), Derek Jarman’s last feature and magnum opus, Blue (1993), and a striking presentation of Turner Prize winning-artist Tai Shani’s The Neon Hieroglyph (2021). Admission charges apply. Runs until 19th February. For more, see somersethouse.org.uk. ​

Send all items to exploringlondon@gmail.com

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