One thousand garlands suspended in time

IMG_5110 copyThe Life in Death installation at Shirley Sherwood Gallery in Kew Gardens offers an “alternative concept of beauty” through the evolving nature of its medium. Best known for her international floral installations, Rebecca Louise Law‘s most intricate large-scale artwork to date is exhibited at Kew from the 7th of October of last year until the 11th of March 2018.

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Giovanna Fletcher Book Event

Giovanna Fletcher celebrated the release of her latest novel, Always With Love, with a book event at Waterstones Trafalgar Square.

Always With Love is the sequel to best-selling author Giovanna’s debut novel, Billy and Me. It tells of the new much-anticipated chapter to Billy and Sophie’s romance.

As one not to miss a signing event of an awesome author, I let my friend drag me to it.

Giovanna Fletcher – Always With Love | 2 June 2016, Waterstones Trafalgar Square

The prettiest Waterstones

Well, was…
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Inside Waterstones New Street in Birmingham

It came to me as a sad sad news that the most beautiful Waterstones I’ve ever been to has closed down. It may be my favourite Waterstones, with all its grandeur found in the high ceilings, grand staircase and mezzanine – which provided a great view of the store and the shelves below. (Although, Waterstones Piccadilly is a close competition being the biggest bookstore in Europe and all)

I’ve heard the news about it closing down but it was still heart-breaking to see the blacked-out windows and scaffoldings around the building during my recent visit to Birmingham. No more are those hours of browsing in this 20 000 sq ft of book heaven.

I mean look at this all this!wns Continue reading “The prettiest Waterstones”

What is it about YA books: A look at its popularity and fandoms

I have a profound love affair with the Young Adult genre. This is something that I am proud to admit and also something I cannot deny since, as you will find, my fondness for YA has leaked into my work. The following article is a piece I’ve written for an assessment when I was at university. As they say, “write what you know” or “write what you love.” Well, why not both?

WHAT IS IT ABOUT YA BOOKS: A LOOK AT ITS POPULARITY AND FANDOMS
First published on 16 July 2014 on Where Words Fly.

Over a decade into the boom in Young Adult Literature and 2014 looks like it is still yet the year that the Young Adult genre is going to be cemented as a true force.

There were 30 000 Young Adult titles published in 2009, which is a massive increase from the 3 000 titles in 1997. In the same year, publishing companies’ total sales for YA exceeded $3 billion and it has been publishers’ favourite bet ever since. To add, according to an artice in The LA Times, more than a dozen publishers has launched young adult imprints. And finally, with websites such as Epicreads releasing lists of “The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books Coming” every month since September in 2013 to date, it is evident that YA popularity is as strong as ever if not growing even stronger.

The genre mainly targeted at teenagers has become so popular in the past years that it has been recognized as a separate genre from Children’s and stores and libraries started having entire separate sections with rows of shelves entirely dedicated to YA. Continue reading “What is it about YA books: A look at its popularity and fandoms”

Nguva na Nyoka (Sirens and Serpents) by Wangechi Mutu | Review

The immense representation of the feminine, the political and the cultural is very palpable and striking in Wangechi Mutu’s latest exhibition entitled Nguva na Nyoka (meaning “Siren and Serpents” in Swahili). Staying true to the title, her collage paintings are of grotesquely deformed underwater creatures which screams surrealism with the contrasting elements of humans, animals and machines. They also manifest hyperbolism and diversity through the way she forced together an overload of materials, themes and references which you don’t ordinarily see together. Despite the initial jarring sense that her works present, they are both seductive and eerie all at once. 

The exhibition spans the two floors of Victoria Miro’s Gallery in London, showcasing the art works of this New York-based artist with Kenyan origins. Mutu uses a variety of media – mixing both textiles and art materials – to create her hybrid creatures with magazine cut-outs, watercolours, beads, feathers and fabrics. These distorted chimaeras do not only emulate the mythologic core of the exhibit’s theme, but their faces made up of big eyes and lips lifted from fashion magazines also satirise the stereotypes and preconceptions of women’s images and identities in the society. 

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Killing You Softly

Continue reading “Nguva na Nyoka (Sirens and Serpents) by Wangechi Mutu | Review”

Trendy and intellectual, salons are back in London town

There are drinks by the entrance; people are holding foot-tall glasses of beers; some are eating dinner; and, there’s the constant buzz of chatter and natter all around. Loud music is playing and there are also strobe lights. But no, this is not a party or a casual social night. In fact, chairs are lined-up in rows to face the stage at the front of the venue and people are just waiting for the event to start. 

“Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Salon London… I hope we got something for everyone tonight.” says the host. It is Salon London’s last event for the year, where you get dancing and drinking breaks in between speakers. The Salon is also celebrating its 6th birthday in this intimate venue at The Proud Archivist in Haggerston, with the bar just by the door. 

This is part of the the new trend emerging across the capital. The need for intellectual spaces where you can think, debate, socialise and drink at the same time. It’s an academic and aristocratic 18th century concept bleeding into the 21st century of pop culture and mainstream society; it’s the new age of modern-day salons.

Continue reading “Trendy and intellectual, salons are back in London town”

Not That Kind Of Girl: A young woman tells you what she’s “learned” by Lena Dunham | Book Review

Not That Kind Of Girl Book Cover
Vulgar, candid, absolutely hilarious and grippingly dark at times pretty much sums up Not That Kind Of Girl. In her memoir, Lena ‘voice of her generation’ Dunham imparts wit and cultural  significance.

Famous for being the creator and star of HBO’s comedy series, Girls, Lena Dunham declares in one of her chapters, “performing in sex scenes that I direct, exposing a flash of my weird puffy nipple, those things don’t fall into my zone of terror.” So is self-exposing her whole being (well, at least 28 years of it) in a book, it seems.

Continue reading “Not That Kind Of Girl: A young woman tells you what she’s “learned” by Lena Dunham | Book Review”

The spell of slam poetry and compulsion of art

“Prepare to be Varjacked!” This is how fellow artists in the performance scene describes or, more appropriately, warns the audience of writer and contemporary performer Paula Varjack. It refers to the idea of being hit with real and immediate impact with a certain act. “I’d like to kind of leave with something that I think has either a message or creates a certain feeling or makes you think afterwards.”

For more than 6 years now, this British-American performer has been working as a full-time artist and her works has taken a variety and hybrid of forms ranging from spoken words, monologues, devised performance, videography, audio-visual pieces, stories and poems. Mostly in London, Berlin and Washington DC, she has also been touring in different cities not only in the UK but also around Europe. 

Paula’s disposition of being from all the places and prancing around practically everywhere inspired the title of her latest two-month tour Always Back From Somewhere, which sees her performing in England, Belgium, Scotland, Germany and Denmark. The tour started on the 7th of October with the whole month spent guesting in events around London and eventually the rest of the UK. With half of the tour remaining, she’ll be spending most of November outside the country culminating to her last performance on the 21st of the month at South Bank Centre in London as part of the celebration of Polari’s (multi award-winning LGBT literary salon) fourth birthday.

Continue reading “The spell of slam poetry and compulsion of art”

What is it about YA books: A look at its popularity and fandoms

Over a decade into the boom in Young Adult Literature and 2014 looks like it is still yet the year that the Young Adult genre is going to be cemented as a true force.

There were 30,000 Young Adult titles published in 2009, which is a massive increase from the 3,000 titles in 1997. In the same year, publishing companies’ total sales for YA exceeded $3 billion and it has been publishers’ favourite bet ever since. To add, according to an artice in The LA Times, more than a dozen publishers has launched young adult imprints. And finally, with websites such as Epicreads releasing lists of “The 15 Most Anticipated YA Books Coming” every month since September in 2013 to date, it is evident that YA popularity is as strong as ever if not growing even stronger.

The genre mainly targeted at teenagers has become so popular in the past years that it has been recognized as a separate genre from Children’s and stores and libraries started having entire separate sections with rows of shelves entirely dedicated to YA. Continue reading “What is it about YA books: A look at its popularity and fandoms”