Our Pick of 4 Exhibitions To See in the UK this Summer

Inua Ellams' R.A.P Party, part of Africa Utopia Festival at Southbank Centre, London
Courtesy of Southbank Centre, London
Inua Ellams' R.A.P Party, part of Africa Utopia Festival.
From the Africa Utopia Festival to Rana Begum’s exhibition at Djanogly Gallery, here are our top picks for a dose of art and culture in the UK

Southbank Centre, London
Africa Utopia Festival

Since 2012, Southbank Centre has been hosting Africa Utopia, a four-day festival dedicated to showcasing art and culture from Africa and the African diaspora. Beyond sharing the ideas that are shaping the rapidly developing continent, it also considers what the West can learn from Africa through a series of talks, workshops, music, performances, fashion events and food. This year the programme explores Pan-Africanism, and under the helm of Senegalese singer and human rights advocate Baaba Maal, will see husband and wife music pair Amadou & Mariam, as well as the Chineke! Orchesta headlining the event. Additional highlights include a screening of Nnedi Okorafor’s award-winning performance Hello, Rain, and Inua Ellam’s R.A.P Party – an evening of hip-hop and poetry.

19-22 July
Southbankcentre.co.uk

Rana Begum, 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize Winner at Djanogly Gallery, Nottingham

Djanogly Gallery, Lakeside Arts, Nottingham
Rana Begum: Space Light Colour

British-Bangladeshi artist Rana Begum’s second installation of her solo show comes to Nottingham featuring her Folds, Bars and Mesh works, as well as an immersive installation that embodies her characteristic manipulation of light and colour through simple but highly structured geometric forms. Often incorporating mass-produced materials that are positioned in repetitive sequential order, the varying materials absorb and reflect light that cause the vivid colours Begum selects to have a fluid, transitional property. Inspired by sculpture, painting and architecture, the 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize winner has also cited childhood recitals of the Qur’an as an influence on the systematic appearance of her body of work.

Until 30 September
Lakesidearts.org.uk

Hayv Kahraman. The Translator from the series 'How Iraqi Are You?' 2015. Oil on linen. 249x193cm. At the Jameel Prize 5 Exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum

Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Jameel Prize 5 Exhibition

In partnership with Art Jameel, the V&A presents the Jameel Prize every two years to contemporary artists and designers inspired by the tenets of Islamic tradition. For the fifth edition, eight shortlisted artists appear in this concise exhibition curated by Salma Tuqan, but the announcement of two joint winners marked a new direction. Iraqi artist Mehdi Moutashar and Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum won, and their works are displayed alongside pieces by Iranian Kamrooz Aram, Iraqi Hayv Kahraman, Bahraini Hala Kaiksow, Jordanian naqsh collective, Moroccan Younes Rahmoun, and Pakistani Wardha Shabbir. Whether through sustainable fashion items or paintings where geometry meets abstract florals, these artists express applicability, adaptability and creativity through innovative takes on Islamic design.

Until 25 November
vam.ac.uk

Abbas Akhavan, exhibiting at Bluecoat, Liverpool, part of the Liverpool Biennial 2018

Liverpool Biennial: Beautiful World, Where Are You?

The 10th edition of citywide event takes over Liverpool with 40 artists from 22 countries responding to the theme of Beautiful world, where are you? Questioning the current state of social, political and economic turmoil, the phrase comes from a 1788 poem by German poet Friedrich Schiller, and acts as a launch point to reconsider the past in advancing a new kind of universal beauty. With an emphasis on consciousness and activism, cultural shifts and the ensuing loss and suppression, galleries, Tate Liverpool, civic spaces, public corners and alleys all dedicate themselves to art and culture. Highlights include the major new public work by Ugo Rondinone, the Biennial Fringe, Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018, and the John Moores Painting Prize exhibition.

Until 28 October
biennial.com

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Inua Ellams' R.A.P Party, part of Africa Utopia Festival at Southbank Centre, London
Courtesy of Southbank Centre, London
Inua Ellams' R.A.P Party, part of Africa Utopia Festival.