What’s on in London: Arts and tradition – The Tab


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Now that the sun isn’t setting at 4 pm, the afternoon naps are dwindling. What better time to go get your dose of the classic London culture?

From West End shows to temporary exhibitions that are unmissable, here’s your definitive student guide to having a good day out without breaking the bank.

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

UCL’s Music Theatre Society is putting on their very own rendition of “My Land’s Shore,” a musical centring around Dic Penderyn, a Welsh miner in 1831. Watch as he challenges the poverty that his community faces after many years of back-breaking labour, and be captivated by this story of struggle, power, and love.

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

The musical will be running from the 17 to 19 February in the Bloomsbury Theatre. If you’re a UCL student, tickets prices are as low as £7.50!

‘Joy’ at the Wellcome Collection

Running until 23 March, the Joy exhibition at the Wellcome Collection explores the effects of positive emotions on the human body.

Ever felt giddy with happiness? Or laughed until you’ve 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

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

“Co-existent 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 “Lu Xun’s Legacy: Printmaking in Modern China” showcases over 200 prints, exploring the impact of Western-influenced printmaking in Japan on China.

Van Gogh’s self-portraits at Courtauld Gallery

Get an intimate view of the tortured, starving artist through Courtauld Gallery’s pioneering exhibition. It features 16 of renowned artist Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portraits.

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

For a laugh, check out what has been garnering this monumental exhibition more press: Courtauld’s controversial Van Gogh gift shop selling bars of sunflower soap for “the tortured artist who enjoys fluffy bubbles,” Van Gogh-themed “emotional first aid kit,” and severed ear erasers.

Francis Bacon at the Royal Academy of Arts

London has a huge lineup of influential European art exhibitions. After getting a dose of post-impressionism and portraiture at the Courtauld, head over to the Royal Academy of Arts for “Francis Bacon: Man and Beast” – a more harrowing, carnal, primal view of the human body and 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 is all about 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 renewal of Grand Manner portraiture to landscape painting.

Cover image used with permission from UCL Music Theatre Society.

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