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Events in Art and Archaeology

Kiluanji Kia Henda: <EM>The Last Journey of the Dictator Mussunda N’zombo Before the Great Extinction: Act I</EM>, 2017
Kiluanji Kia Henda: The Last Journey of the Dictator Mussunda N'zombo Before the Great Extinction: Act I, 2017
Africa State of Mind
NOTTINGHAM  •  New Art Exchange  •  29 September - 16 December 2018
 

Africa State of Mind, curated by Ekow Eshun with NAE, explores the work of an emergent generation of photographers from across the African continent. 16 artists from 11 different countries interrogate ideas of 'Africanness' through highly subjective renderings of life and identity on the continent, along the way revealing Africa to be a psychological space as much as a physical territory; a state of mind as much as a physical location. The exhibiting artists are: Emmanuelle Andrianjafy, Sammy Baloji, Raphaël Barontini, Neil Beloufa, Girma Berta, Eric Gyamfi, Kiluanji Kia Henda, Lebohang Kganye, Namsa Leuba, Michael MacGarry, Sabelo Mlangeni, Mimi Cherono Ng'ok, Musa N Nxumalo, Ruth Ossai, Athi Patra Ruga and Michael Tsegaye.

The exhibition orientates around three main themes - Inner Landscapes, Zones of Freedom and Hybrid Cities. In the show the modern African city is documented in all its dynamism and contradiction. The fluidity of gender and sexual identity is addressed through compelling portraiture, and the legacy of history, from slavery and colonialism to apartheid, becomes the source of new myths and dreamscapes.



New Art Exchange Website


Contact: New Art Exchange
39-41 Gregory Boulevard
Nottingham
NG7 6BE, Uk
Tel: (44) 0115 924 8630

Ashurbanipal
Ashurbanipal
I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria
LONDON  •  British Museum  •  8 November 2018 - 24 February 2019
 

This autumn, discover the world of ancient Assyria through the life and legacy of its last great ruler, King Ashurbanipal. The BP exhibition I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria will transport you back to ancient Iraq in the 7th century BC, when Ashurbanipal became the most powerful person on earth. From his capital at Nineveh, he ruled a vast and diverse empire, shaping the lives of peoples from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran.

How did one man negotiate family politics, the pressures of kingship, and the will of the gods? Ashurbanipal, proud of his scholarship, assembled the greatest library in existence during his reign. Guided by this arsenal of knowledge, he defined the course of the empire and boldly asserted his claim to be ‘king of the world, king of Assyria’.

This is the first ever major exhibition to explore the life of Ashurbanipal in such depth. The exhibition tells Ashurbanipal’s remarkable story through the vivid narratives recorded on his palace sculptures, the hundreds of cuneiform texts that survive from his library, and from the wealth of objects discovered by archaeologists working in the region. Innovative displays bring to life the tumultuous story of Ashurbanipal’s reign; his conquest of Egypt, the crushing defeat of his rebellious older brother, and his ruthless campaigns against all who defied his rule.

Over 200 extraordinary objects from all corners of the empire reveal how one of the greatest Assyrian monarchs stamped an indelible mark on the history of the world. The British Museum’s world-renowned collection of Assyrian treasures have been complemented by key loans from across the globe. These include unique objects and artworks from the collections of the History Museum of Armenia, Yerevan; the Musée du Louvre, Paris; the Vorderasiatisches Museum, in Berlin; the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg; the Museo Gregoriano Etrusco, Musei Vaticani, Vatican City; and the Cyprus Museum, Nicosia. Many of these remarkable objects have never travelled to the UK before.

The exhibition immerses visitors in the life at the great Assyrian court. Massive stone sculptures, intricately carved reliefs, painted glazed bricks and rare wall paintings evoke the splendour of the cities and palaces. Delicately carved ivories, extravagant metalwork, cosmetic vessels and gold ornaments show how the elites lived in splendour. Ornate chariot fittings and elaborate weaponry reveal how this was an age of conflict, as rival kings fought for power and glory. Ashurbanipal’s prowess as a valiant warrior is recorded on a series of vividly carved reliefs in the British Museum’s collection that depict the royal lion hunt. Lion hunts were drama-filled public spectacles staged within the hunting grounds at Nineveh.

Ashurbanipal claimed to be unlike his predecessors for he could read, write and debate with expert scholars. During his reign he assembled a unique and visionary library at his palace in Nineveh. Knowledge was power; this library was a practical tool that helped the king to manage his empire. Using the British Museum’s world-renowned collection of documents dating to Ashurbanipal’s reign, the exhibition will recreate the king’s great library to evoke its scale and present its contents and significance.

Many of the objects featured in the exhibition come from archaeological sites in Iraq such as Nineveh and Nimrud that have been systematically targeted and destroyed by Daesh (IS). The final section of the exhibition highlights the challenges faced in protecting Iraqi cultural heritage under threat and showcases the work of the ‘Iraq Emergency Heritage Management Training Scheme’. In response to the destruction of heritage sites in Iraq, the British Museum developed this scheme to train Iraqi archaeologists in rescue archaeology and emergency heritage management. An overview of the project’s training and research is being presented to visitors through film footage of the excavations and exclusive interviews with participants.



British Museum Website


Contact: The British Museum
Great Russell Street
London WC1B 3DG
Tel: 44 (0)20 7323 8000

Events in Pop Culture and Cinema

Story of Phi: Restricted Books
OXFORD  •  Bodleian’s Weston Library.  •  15 November 2018 - 13 January 2019
 

The Bodleian Libraries is lifting the lid on its collection of ‘obscene’ and ‘improper’ books in the first ever display of items from the Libraries’ restricted ‘Phi’ category. Story of Phi: Restricted Books explores changing ideas about sexuality and censorship at the Bodleian’s Weston Library.

In the Victorian age, the Bodleian created a restricted library within the Library, a special category for books that were deemed by librarians to be too sexually explicit. These books were given the shelfmark Φ – the Greek letter Phi. Students had to submit a college tutor's letter of support in order to read Phi materials.

The Phi shelfmark was established in 1882 and remained in use until recently. It was designed to protect young minds from material that was considered immoral while also protecting the books themselves from unwanted attention or damage. The c. 3,000 items in the Phi collection are extremely diverse, ranging from scientific works and scholarly studies of ancient cultures to novels that were once controversial but are now recognised as important works of literature. The Phi collection is a valuable sociological snapshot, charting how perceptions of sexuality and appropriateness have changed over time.

Highlights of the Phi collection on display include:

• An illustrated volume of The Love Books of Ovid, which was restricted due to its illustrations while Ovid’s unillustrated erotic poems were freely available on the Libraries’ open shelves

• Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, which was restricted presumably because of its homoerotic subtext and Wilde’s notoriety

• A signed first edition of Lady Chatterley’s Lover which was smuggled into Britain in a diplomatic bag in order to evade British censorship laws

• Press clippings related to the restriction of certain medical texts, which were subsequently reclassified and placed on open shelves in the 1930s

• Sex manuals such as the best-seller, The Joy of Sex

• Humorous works such as The Brand New Monty Python Bok [sic], which features a naked posterior on its cover, and The Pop-Up Kama Sutra

• Books about phallic symbolism

• Modern works ranging from Madonna’s book, Sex to the iconic homoerotic drawings of the Finnish artist known as ‘Tom of Finland’

• The first modern European work of pornography, the Satyra Sotadica. Written in Latin in the 17th century, it influenced many later writings on the topic of sex, and a long tradition of using Rome as a model for sexual license and frankness

The free display is curated by Jennifer Ingleheart, Professor of Latin at the University of Durham, and draws on her expertise in obscene works and their reception.



Bodleian’s Weston Library Website


Contact:

Bodleian’s Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG
United Kingdom

 


Tel: 44 1865 277094

Niamh Cusack and Christopher Eccleston in <EM>Macbeth</EM>Royal Shakespeare Company
Niamh Cusack and Christopher Eccleston in Macbeth
Royal Shakespeare Company
Macbeth: Royal Shakespeare Company
LONDON  •  Barbican Theatre  •  15 October 2018 - 19 January 2019
 

Christopher Eccleston makes his RSC debut in the title role of Shakespeare’s psychological thriller, opposite Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth and with Edward Bennett as Macduff.

Returning home from battle, the victorious Macbeth meets three witches on the heath. Driven by their disturbing prophecies, he sets out on the path to murder.

Polly Findlay’s contemporary production of this dark tragedy of power and revenge marks her return to the Barbican following her staging of The Alchemist in 2016.



Barbican Centre Website


Contact: Barbican Centre
Silk Street, London
EC2Y 8DS
Tel: (44) 020 7638 8891



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