10 Top Events in January

May Morris: Life and Art, William Morris Gallery

Though she was a successful designer of textiles and jewellery, May Morris’ career has been overshadowed by the achievements of her father, William Morris. May Morris: Life and Art, which is currently showing at the William Morris Gallery, aims to re-establish May a key figures in the Arts and Crafts movement and artists in her own right. The exhibition brings together over 80 pieces of her work – including wallpaper, book designs, and sketches and watercolours – many of which have never been on public display before. Best known for her pioneering use of embroidery, establishing it as serious art form, the panels she designed and worked for Morris & Co are at the centre of the exhibition.

May Morris: Art & Life’, William Morris Gallery, London, until 28 January 2018.

Love and Fame by Susie Boyt

A new-ish release from Virago books. Susie Boyt’s sixth novel tell the story of Eve, a nervous young actress from a theatrical dynasty, who has somehow found herself married to Jim, an international expert on anxiety (Sigmund Freud eat your heart out). A dark comedy about love, grief and showbusiness, the novel explores the first year of her marriage, as Eve explores gets to grip with wedded life, and begins to question whether it is worth staying in her marriage for the second act.

Buy here from Virago

Daughters of Penelope, Dovecot Gallery

The Dovecot Gallery explores the complex story of women’s work in the textile industry and in tapestry making.  The exhibition, the Daughters of Penelope, presents the work of selected women weavers and artists who have contributed to Dovecot’s own collection, including work by Fiona Mathison, Maureen Hodge and Naomi Robertson.  Alongside these tapestry and rug pieces are contemporary works from artists exploring the history and cultural identity of women through textile, including work by Caroline Dear, Aine Kajaniemi and Hanna Tuulikki.

Daughters of Penelope’, Dovecot Gallery, Edinburgh, until 20 January 2018.

Rachel Whiteread, Tate Britain

Houses to hot waterbottles. January is your last chance to see Tate Britain’s acclaimed exhibition of Rachel Whiteread before it closes at the end of the month. Whiteread’s monumental to minimal sculptures, of inverted everyday objects and places, give form to space in plaster and wood.  The Tate exhibition is the largest of her work to date, providing a retrospective of over 25 years of her career, as well as the opportunity to view entirely new sculptures that are on display for the first time.

Rachel Whiteread’, Tate Britain, London, until 21 January 2018.

Guard Your Daughters by Diana Tutton

The Harvey sisters – Morgan, Pandora, Cressida, Thisbe and Teresa – have led unremarkable lives as the daughters of a famous detective writer father, and a gently tyrannical mother. But the marriage of Pandora, and the arrival of a strange young man on their door step, transpires to shake their up lives and cause their mother to take drastic action. Guard Your Daughters was Diana Tutton’s most successful and acclaimed novel, selling over 200,000 copies when it was first published in 1953. Now that it has been republished by Persephone books, this funny, lively and sophisticated novel will get the new audience it deserves.

Buy here from Persephone Books

Alias Grace, Netflix

The Handmaid’s Tale may well have dominated all the headlines in 2017 for its political pertinence, yet Netflix drama Alias Grace – another Margaret Attwood adaptation – is equally topical for its examination of gender, class and narratives. A masterclass in screenplay writing by Sarah Polley, Alias Grace tells the tale of Grace Marks, a double murderess, and the psychiatrist who has to determine whether she should be pardoned due to insanity. A bewitching performance from Sarah Gadon makes this show a must-see in and of itself.

Available on Netflix here.

Belleville, Donmar Warehouse

Amy and Zack are bright, young American ex-pats living the high-life in the trendy Belleville area of Paris. He’s a doctor fighting paediatric aids, and she’s an actress who also teaches yoga. It all seems a little too sweet to last. Imgoen Poots and James Norton star in Amy Herzog’s play about romantic love gone sour, which has transferred from its acclaimed Broadway run to the West End.

‘Belleville’, Donmar Warehouse, London, until 21 January 2018.

Women’s Suffrage Series at the British Library

To commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the Representation of the People Act, which extended the vote to include select women, the British Library are hosting a series of events which will explore the suffragette movement as well as other women’s movements both past and present. Starting with a lecture on the 1790s female radicals fighting to reform social policy, the series will also include a panel discussion with Joan Bakewell and Harriet Harman on women in parliament, and a course on ‘Making the Modern Suffragette’. Events begin in January and finish in March.

‘Women’s Suffrage’ at the British Library, London, 26th January until 15th March.

Don’t Fence Me In. A Portrait of Photographer Fay Godwin

Fay Godwin (1931-2005) captured a primordial vision of the British landscape, in striking black and white. From family snaps to photographing some of the most important writers of the 20th century, the docu-film ‘Don’t Fence Me In’ offers a retrospective of her career, structured around her appearance on Desert Island Discs and three major retrospective shows of her work; the first at London’s Barbican Centre, then the Sainsbury Centre at the University of East Anglia and finally at Scottish National Portrait Gallery Edinburgh.

‘Don’t Fence Me In: A Portrait of Photographer Fay Godwin’, British Library, London, 11th January, 19:00-20:30

25th Anniversary: Bhaji on the Beach

Three generations of Asian women from a Birmingham community centre are on an outing to the Blackpool illuminations to enjoy some ‘female fun time’, and a quick break from everyday sexism and racism (supposedly). Bhaji on the Beach offers an insight into the tensions between cultures and generations in a changing society, as well as plenty of rude jokes. To celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the film, the BFI will be hosting a screening of the film followed by Q&A with director Gurinder Chanda.

25th Anniversary: Bhaji on the Beach + Q&A with writer-director Gurinder Chadha

Charlotte Taylor

Image Credit: Honeysuckle wallpaper, Designed c. 1883 © William Morris Gallery, London Borough of Waltham Forest

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