Denzil Forrester’s paintings don’t look like the kind of art you normally find in contemporary galleries. They aren’t full of nods to art history, they’re not drenched in conceptual theorising and they don’t fit neatly into the canon of Western art history. Basically, they don’t look exactly like everything else. And thank fuck for that, because that’s what makes them great. Forrester is a black British artist who for 40 years has been painting scenes from reggae and dub clubs. His ultra-bright works are throbbing with dancing bodies, thrumming with movement and chaos. This is London life captured in single moments: people, parties, police, sound, culture and sweat. There are DJs hunched over turntables, MCs holding their mics in front of huge speaker stacks while severe, angular policemen watch on. There are moments of calm among the chaos, there are people lost in the moments, but in general, this is life at its most alive. Forrester’s not a neat or particularly formal painter, and some of it is a bit messy. But there’s something unique about this. His figures don’t look like Rembrandt’s, his faces don’t look like Picasso’s. His is a different voice: a black, London voice, separate from the stuffiness of the commercial art world. It’s not what you normally see in fancy galleries, and we should be seriously thankful for that.
Andalusia is coming to the banks of the Thames for a May Bank Holiday weekend festival full of tapas, Spanish beer, wine, sherry tastings and unique masterclasses. ‘Feria de Londres’ invites Londoners to tuck into everything from Tortilla de Patata to organic Gazpacho, watch flamenco dancers and singers, sample moreish Andalusian cocktails and get stuck into Jamón Ibérico masterclass. Arriba!
For the first time in more than 150 years Londoners can step into Chelsea Barracks, but you won’t find brigades and battalions there anymore. The former British Army barracks, which was built to house infantry members back in 1862, is now an evergreen paradise overflowing with flowers, vegetables and herbs.
Take in Europe’s largest urban wetland and some local art while you’re at it. Hydrologic, created by E17 floral studio Borrowed Light, is a trio of suspended sculptures peppered across the huge 211-hectare nature reserve and inspired by the wetlands’ unique water cycle.
Lend a hand in this one-off Extinction Rebellion Protest Tree Planting. The group has collected nearly 50 donated plants and trees from its recent protests, which are now in need of a new home. Help plant some of the homeless trees in south London’s Hoopla Pocket Park.
Get your paws on vintage treasure at this popular market bringing more than 60 hand-picked traders together in Peckham. Keep an eye out for 20th-century furniture, salvaged French homeware, vintage clothing, kitschenalia and reclaimed industrial fixtures, perfect for giving your pad a fresh look.
Nothing beats a good weekend rummage, so make sure to head down to Peckham's Copeland Park on the Sunday of the late May bank holiday weekend. The institution that is Hackney Record Fair is making the journey south of the river, and will be offering up hidden gems and uber rare wax across an array of 30 stalls. Not part of the vinyl revival yet? Don't panic – HiFi dealers will also be on hand with all the gear you need to turn your sound system into a audiophile's heaven.
Hackney's Kingsland Market is back. Originally opened in 1880 as a ‘waste’ market for people to trade their unwanted goods, it was once the place to go for spare parts, second hand goods and odds and ends, but in 2015 trading had dwindled down to just one stall. The new market will be open weekly on Saturdays between 9am-5pm. In keeping with 138 years of tradition, there'll be stalls selling second hand bargains, vintage goods and collectables, antiques, and will also have the occaisional ‘waste’ trader. Long live Kingsland Market.
Some art makes you laugh. Some art makes you cry. Some art makes your skin crawl off your body so you have to chase the fleshy sheet across the foyer of Tate Britain to put it back on again. Joanna Piotrowska’s photography and video works are on display at Tate Britain as the latest instalment of the gallery’s Art Now series, and you just might leave feeling fleshily exposed. The one-room exhibition brings together several projects by the Polish artist. There’s one where she asks adults to build forts in their own homes out of household debris, one where she gets teenage girls to act out poses from self-defence manuals and one made up entirely of two hands continuously rubbing and touching each other. It’s the last of these that makes your skin do a runner across the room. There’s something deeply unsettling about these hands getting, well, handsy. Fingers caressing forearms, pinkies bumping against wrists: it should all be lovely, a tender memento of humans expressing care for each other. But somehow it’s not, somehow it’s enough to put you off holding hands ever again. This unbalancing note of discomfort represents the very best quality of Piotrowska’s work. It’s also there in the photos of grown-ups huddled under duvets and tottering furniture, this unheimlich eeriness making you wonder if the people have just been informed the four horsemen are fast approaching. But at points in this exhibition it’s easy to feel a little lost. The accompanying fold-out sheet of smal
Formerly Flea at Flat Iron Square, this weekly vintage and makers market has moved to Vinegar Yard SE1, bringing its heaps of antiques, clothing, homeware, books, bikes and cameras with it. It's hunting ground for treasures and pre-loved artefacts. Can't make it this weekend? Visit its range of pop-up shops, open every weekday.
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