Here at The Melita, we’re all about supporting the arts. As a hotel that also functions as an art gallery, too, we understand intimately the importance of supporting London’s incredible artists each and every day. We work hard to make sure that the artists we partner with feel supported, giving them exposure to both locals and people from all over the world.
In fact, The Melita also offers artists the opportunity to place their art within the hotel absolutely free of any fees. All we ask is that contributing artist’s art be inspired by the hotel itself–usually not a difficult task, as the hotel is historical and steeped in London’s fascinating history.
Should someone wish to purchase a piece while visiting, we put them in contact with the artist directly and so they get 100 percent of the funds. The enjoyment we get out of hosting stunning art pieces and supporting up and coming talent is rewarding enough for us. This is an initiative that is very dear to us and cannot be found anywhere else in any other hotel in London.
In light of our appreciation for London’s local arts scene, we wanted to draw attention to some of London’s most exciting events taking place this summer. Spanning from late July well into September, these events are a must-see for both, our visitors and anyone local to Pimlico or central London. We hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we do!
Hackney WickED Festival
When: July 29 to 31
The WickED festival in Hackney is one of the most attended arts festivals in London. Unlike other events, this gathering usually features a smattering of exhibitions, open studios, art markets, and unique performances, ensuring that there’s truly something in the programme for everyone.
WickED focuses on both established artists and those who are just coming onto the scene, making this an excellent opportunity to experience some of London’s rising stars. Each event is hand-curated because it offers something truly special, be that film, music, or fine arts presentations.
Those who prefer to enjoy the arts hands-on will want to visit one of the many DIY open studio events covering everything from book arts to the creation of jewellery. Feeling a bit like relaxing in good company? Try the Grow Open Studio Weekend; it’s entire focus is on bringing art-minded individuals together to collaborate, share, and just enjoy a bit of interesting conversation. Or, visit the Chop Shop and recreate a piece of clothing in your own view instead–perfect for the crafty or fashionable at heart.
At its heart, this festival is really just an incredible learning and networking opportunity, both for accomplished artists and the general public, too.
The Hackney WickED festival doesn’t take place in one exact location; instead, events and pop up locations are scattered throughout the city. While most of these are planned in advance, it pays to keep an eye on the website for last-minute changes.
Tate Modern’s “Bhupen Khakhar: You Can’t Please All” Exhibit
When: Until October
Open well into October, this is a constantly-running exhibition taking place at Tate Modern, one of London’s most influential art galleries. Each of the paintings shown at this exhibit were created by Bhupen Khakhar, a late Indian painter best known for his incredible use of bold colour and masterful blending of surrealist and modern styles.
At first glance, it’s easy to identify that Khakhar painted largely from experience. Indeed, he was raised in India and worked in a local factory during his early life, and this is reflected in pieces like “Janata Watch Repairing.” His incredible renditions of Indian life come forth in bold, effervescent colours with a misty, sort of dreamy feel, making it difficult to ascertain exactly what his “statement” was when making them.
Truthfully, what we know of Khakhar as a man can tell us a great deal about the paintings. First and foremost, he was a great supporter of Gandhi and believed very strongly in many of his teachings; thus, many of his paintings carry subtle political undertones. But they are also slightly humorous and surprisingly candid in an unapologetic way.
A word of caution: some of Khakhar’s paintings do contain nudity. Parental discretion is advised.
Pablo Bronstein: Historical Dances in an Antique Setting
When: Until October 9
For lovers of dance, especially historical dance, Pablo Bronstein’s “Historical Dances in an Antique Setting” exhibit at Tate Britain is highly recommended. Drop in any time between 11:00 in the morning and 5:00 in the evening to watch live dancers swirl, dip and dash across Tate’s dramatic geometrically-laid floor. It’s a historical architecture lover’s dream.
“Historical Dances is heavily influenced by baroque gardening techniques and the idea that architecture can be a form of theatre in and of itself–something London has no shortage of. Indeed, the Tate Britain itself is a marvel of architectural beauty in and of itself, so even if you don’t stay for the dancing, it’s worth wandering throughout the museum and gallery.
If you’re not normally a lover of dance, don’t be afraid to show up anyway. Interpretive panels will describe and explain each of the dances you’ll see, helping to clarify Bronstein’s “living sculptures” so you can better digest the content presented.
Unreachable at the Royal Court Theatre
When: Until August 6
Starring Matt Smith–yes, the very same actor that played Dr. Who–and written by Anthony Neilson, “Unreachable” is well and truly creative-ception. It’s a play about the creative process itself, following leading character Maxim’s desperate and often hilariously dysfunctional quest to find “the perfect light” when making a film.
The audience is made a part of the film frequently in very obvious ways. First, in the beginning, by showcasing an over-the-top acting audition that bounces around from emotion to emotion as visitors look on. It pushes viewers to question their suspension of belief, something that most plays work incredibly hard to prevent.
Experimental theatre at its best, there’s very little to complain about in this play. It’s a bit intense in places, leading some critics to call it over the top, but in contrast, others have lauded these moments as leading man Matt Smith’s defining moments. Rife with innuendo and slightly juvenile humour, it’s rarely a laugh that’s relaxing, but rather, altogether sharp and witty from start to finish.
A word to the wise: book tickets to this play well in advance. It books up incredibly quickly for a niche play, and if left to the last minute, you may find yourself without a seat. Tickets are just £15.
Summer Exhibition 2016 at Royal Academy of Arts
When: Until August 21
The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts runs every year, and this year, it’s particularly interesting. With over 1,200 individual art pieces spanning a variety of artists both old and new, art buffs will want to make this event a must-see.
As one of the oldest art festivals in London–this esteemed event has been held yearly since as far back as the late 1700s–it often enjoys access and presentation rights to pieces that might not otherwise be viewed by the public. It’s also a crucial event for London’s fine arts scene, and is frequently the catalyst that pushes a never-before-seen talent into the public eye. Submission by any artist at all is entirely free, drawing the attention of artists all throughout England.
Mostly, this is a good thing–it results in a diverse, unusual, and interesting smattering of presentations that will tantalize your senses and draw you in. While you may not like everything you see–an excellent reminder of the subjective nature of art itself, perhaps–even the greenest art lovers will find something to appreciate here.
Main exhibits include Turkish artist Kutluğ Ataman’s large and commanding installation, an ostentatious and over-the-top creation comprised of nearly 10,000 LCD panels. A suspended sculpture in the form of a kite, put together by artistic duo Heather and Ivan Morison, takes up the second main exhibit space.
Overall, this vibrant and diverse exhibition will offer you the opportunity to see exemplary installations ranging over a diverse selection of artistic styles and medias, including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and even film. With £50,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, every artist at the exhibition will be striving to provide their most engaging work.