Two internationally renowned Polish artists feature among our highlights this month. From relative obscurity, Alina Szapocznikow is now considered one of the most important sculptors of the 20th century, and is soon to receive her first major UK retrospective at The Hepworth Wakefield. Miroslaw Balka, on the other hand, will already be familiar to many from his major installation, How It Is (2009), at the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Now he’s heading northwards to present work in the Cumbrian village of Ellerthwaite, reflecting on the history of the Lake District as a place that welcomed 300 child Holocaust survivors after the war. Szapocznikow herself survived the Nazi concentration camps as a teenager, and her work is deeply affected by this haunting past.
By contrast, Bury Art Museum and Sculpture Centre’s latest show reflects upon the less welcoming spirit that has developed throughout the UK in recent times. Foreigners is a bold statement, which sees a cultural organisation taking an unusually political stance amidst the ‘official position’ neutrality that dominates the sector. While Bolton-born artist Hetain Patel examines the cultural assumptions that underpin our notion of ‘foreignness’, dressed in a homemade Spider-Man outfit.
At The Royal Standard, an exhibition of work by black female artists, exploring race, feminism and self-love, responds boldly to the political and social conditions affecting their daily lives. And a group of nine Indian female artists, once considered ‘untouchable’ under the Hindu ritual ranking, find self-expression and financial empowerment through a project based on the traditional craft of katab, at Manchester Craft & Design Centre.
Going Public in Sheffield explores questions of public versus private art ownership; and Tate Liverpool highlights the history of a much-overlooked circle of radical Surrealist artists based in Egypt in the 1930s and 1940s, whose work actively challenged the colonial, nationalistic forces governing the country at the time.
Here are our picks
Until very recently, Alina Szapocznikow remained a relatively overlooked figure outside of Poland. Today she is considered one of the most important artists of the 20th century, and is about to receive her first major UK retrospective at The Hepworth in Wakefield.
yromem at The Lake District Holocaust Project at Windermere Library, Cumbria, 9 September–4 November 2017, free entry - Visit now
International artist Miroslaw Balka reflects on the connection between Cumbria and the Holocaust.
Going Public brings work by some of the most important artists of the past 75 years to Sheffield, whilst sparking a much-needed series of debates around art ownership.
An exhibition that looks likely to challenge perceptions of ‘traditional craft’ in the world of today, while deepening our understanding of an old form of Indian quilting and the women behind it.