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  • Gavin O'Donoghue

Must See Exhibitions in London 2024

Hew Locke's flotilla of suspended boats. Installation.

Check out our pick of the must-see London exhibitions to look forward to in 2024

The Royal Academy of Arts presents Art and Empire: Entangled Pasts.

Hew Locke's artwork at the Ikon Gallery and Stuart Whipps' photo explore the impact of art on the British Empire, both in the past and present discussions surrounding decolonization. The RA presents a unique exhibition featuring pieces from Old Masters like Turner and Reynolds and contemporary artists, including Lubaina Himid and Hew Locke, who challenge colonialism through their work. Alongside this, Entangled Pasts delves into the RA's connection to colonialism throughout its 250 years of existence. We eagerly anticipate their upcoming showcase dedicated to Angelica Kaufmann, one of two female founders of the RA.

Art, Colonialism, and Change at the Royal Academy of Arts. 3 February-28 April 2024

Hew Locke art installation.

The Tate Modern presents Yoko Ono's conceptual work.

In a room filled with halved objects captured by Clay Perry's lens, Yoko Ono's artistic practice spans various mediums: from politics to performance, photography to music, and active participation. After almost seven decades of prolific work, Tate Modern is now showcasing over 200 pieces that reflect Ono's overriding message of peace. As visitors explore the exhibit, they can engage with her all-white chess set, leave a photograph and message on a dedicated wall for mothers, or make a wish for peace on her famous 'wish tree.'

The Tate Modern is hosting Yoko Ono: Music of the Mind from 15 February to 1 September 2024.

Yoko Ono at Tate Modern

National Portrait Gallery presents Black portraiture: The Time is Always Now.

In light of Western art history being dominated by white faces, how do artists from the African diaspora portray the Black form in the UK and US? 22 contemporary artists are presenting their works that address the aesthetic, psychological, and political aspects of representing blackness in this show. The Black Fantastic exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 2022 was curated by Ekow Eshun, who did a great job.

National Portrait Gallery, 22 February-19 May 2024, £16/£18.

Women Artists in Britain: Her-story of art

The Royal Academy of Arts in London, captured by photographer John Hammond, showcases Angelica Kauffman. Tate Britain has a remarkable display featuring feminist artists who made their mark in Britain from 1970-1990. But let's remember those who paved the way long before then. Luckily, Tate also explores the lives and works of women throughout 400 years in this prequel exhibition. From the Tudor period to the First World War, these women defied societal norms by pursuing artistic careers and participating in public shows.

Tate Britain, Women Artists in Britain: 1520-1920, 16 May-13 October 2024

Barbie at the Design Museum: Let's party

The Barbie Dream House of 1962. Photo: Mattel, Inc. Life in plastic is great... or not, as we all saw in the Barbie movie. Barbie the exhibition, hot on its (high) heels, as the fresh-faced doll turns 65. This major show charts Barbie's evolution in fashion, architecture, furniture, and even vehicle design. The exhibition has been three years in the making, and it's safe to say it'll be London's pinkest event in 2024.

Barbie®: The Exhibition at the Design Museum, 5 July 2024-23 February 2025

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