What to do in London: Arts and culture


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Now that the sun no longer sets at 4 p.m., afternoon siestas are on the decline. What better time to get your fix of classic London culture?

From West End shows to must-see temporary exhibitions, here’s your definitive student guide to having a great day without breaking the bank.

UCL Music Theater Society’s ‘My Land’s Shore’

UCL’s Music Theater Society offers its own take on “My Land’s Shore,” a musical centered on Dic Penderyn, a Welsh miner in 1831. Watch him challenge the poverty his community faces after many years of grueling work, and let yourself be captivated by this story of struggle, power and love.

Lyrics like “How far would you go to protect those you love? What would you risk for the chance of a better life? Would you try to take down not a single enemy, but an entire institution?” really hit home.

The musical will run from February 17-19 at the Bloomsbury Theatre. If you are a student at UCL, ticket prices are as low as £7.50!

‘Joy’ at the Wellcome Collection

Until March 23, the Wellcome Collection’s Joy exhibition explores the effects of positive emotions on the human body.

Have you ever felt giddy with happiness? Or laughed until you cried? This exhibition covers it all, exploring a “diversity of euphoric experiences”. Best part? It’s free! Schedule your visit via the gallery’s website.

SOAS Brunei Gallery

The Brunei Gallery at SOAS is open to everyone and no longer requires pre-booking. For a dose of art and history, here are some of their current exhibitions!

“Coexisting Ruins: Exploring Iraq’s Mesopotamian Past Through Contemporary Art” is a collaborative visual research project seeking to explore how to re-engage with ancient historical sites such as Babylon, Nippur and Ur in a contemporary context.

And “The Legacy of Lu Xun: Printmaking in Modern China” features more than 200 prints, exploring the impact of Western-influenced printmaking in Japan on China.

Van Gogh’s self-portraits at the Courtauld Gallery

Get an intimate view of the tortured and starved artist through the Courtauld Gallery’s pioneering exhibition. It presents 16 self-portraits of the famous artist Vincent Van Gogh.

Learn about his struggle with mental health, the evolution of self-representation, and his monumental piece “Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear.”

For a laugh, find out what caught the press’ attention at this monumental exhibition: Courtauld’s controversial Van Gogh gift shop selling sunflower soap bars for “the tortured artist who loves fluffy bubbles”, the ” Van Gogh themed emotional first aid kit, and cut ear gummies.

Francis Bacon at the Royal Academy of Arts

London offers a wide range of influential European art exhibitions. After getting a dose of Post-Impressionism and portraiture at the Courtauld, head to the Royal Academy of Arts for ‘Francis Bacon: Man and Beast’ – a more poignant, carnal and primitive take on the human body and Great Britain. post-war Britain.

Kehinde Wiley at the National Gallery

Last but not least: Known for being the first black artist commissioned to paint an official portrait of the President of the United States, contemporary artist Kehinde Wiley’s work focuses on black empowerment while critically assessing the canon of European art.

Fancy a refreshing look at Old Masterworks? Head to the National Gallery to see Wiley’s revival of Grand Manner portraiture to landscape painting.

Cover image used with permission from UCL Music Theater Society.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

• UCL’s Live Music Society presents Rhapsody: a breathtaking musical performance

• Some UCL staff who voted not to join Stonewall may have done so for ‘transphobic reasons’

• Clubbers bled from mouth after being given chemicals instead of salt with tequila

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