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

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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.

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Shoreditch ‘Meows’: The Rise of Cat Cafés

Cats are running the interweb, that’s a fact. Now, it seems like they are taking over the real world.

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Lauren Pears, owner of Lday Dinah’s Cat Emporium

Shoreditch is set to be the home to London’s very first cat cafe. Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium is opening soon, near the trendy Brick Lane, at Bethnal Green Road. The café was granted planning permission in September and ever since, the team behind Lady Dinah’s have been busy taking care of the cats and working on the building to get the Emporium fit for cats and people.

Lauren Pears, an Australian-born entrepreneur, introduced the idea of a cat café in the UK in a crowd funding campaign at the beginning of the year. It proved to be really popular and garnered much support and raised a total of £109,510. As we draw closer to Lady Dinah’s grand opening, the excitement hasn’t wavered. Continue reading “Shoreditch ‘Meows’: The Rise of Cat Cafés”

Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare | Book Review

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Clockwork Princess is not a roller coaster of emotions. It is a massive dizzying swirl. A moment you are laughing and the next you are pulling your hair out. It shifts so rapidly – not even between chapters. Sometimes, even within the same page.

The Infernal Devices is one of my favourite series. I love it so much and I don’t say that lightly. The historical references, the setting (Victorian London, mainly), the classic book quotations, the concept, the characters, the plot, the narrative, the prose… I love it in its entirety.  My only complaint is that Clockwork Princess is too tragic. But really, having read Clockwork Angel and Clockwork PrinceI should have seen that coming (I love it nonetheless). It’s also the final sequel of the series and it’s harder to get through it when you know that at the end there will be no more.  I am not in the least kidding when I say that strawberries and chocolates got me through this book.

If I have claws or talons for hands, my sheets and mattress would be shredded. Also include the desk and shelf beside my bed as collateral damages in this reading experience, for I might have scratched at them too much. Those didn’t stop me gripping at the pages though or sticking my eyes at the words.

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