Brilliant Things to Do This July

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Sanlé Sory 'Je Vais Décoller, 1977' © Sanlé Sor
Sanlé Sory, Je Vais Décoller, 1977© Sanlé Sory, Tezeta, courtesy of David Hill Gallery

From a celebratory survey of African fashion at the V&A to a roster of events at Theaster Gates’ sublime Serpentine Pavilion in Hyde Park, here are the most excellent events, exhibitions, films and food offerings to look out for this month


Africa Fashion at V&A Museum, London: July 2, 2022 – April 16, 2023
This month marks the opening of the V&A’s anticipated survey of African fashion, from the 1950s and 60s independence era through to the present day. The display features some 250 objects from 25 of the continent’s 54 countries, presented alongside a brilliant selection of textiles and photographs from the museum’s collection. The result is a truly celebratory show that explores “the vitality and innovation of a fashion scene as dynamic and varied as the continent itself.”

Ishiuchi Miyako at Stills, Edinburgh: 29 July – October 8, 2022
In Edinburgh, don’t miss the chance to see the upcoming solo show from Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako. Beginning her career documenting the shifting landscape of her hometown of Yokosuka during its occupation by US forces, Miyako has since been preoccupied with recording “material traces of the passage of time”. Her most famous series centre on the personal belongings of the deceased, from those of the Mexican surrealist Frida Kahlo and her late mother to the victims of Hiroshima, all of which will be on display.

Milton Avery American Colourist at Royal Academy of Arts, London: July 15 – October 16 , 2022
The influential American colourist Milton Avery is the subject of a forthcoming survey at London’s RA, signalling the first comprehensive exhibition of his work in Europe. The show will bring together 70 of Avery’s landscape and portrait paintings, made between the 1930s and the 1960s. Defined by their lyrical colour palettes, and condensed forms, these spellbinding works evidence what Mark Rothko once described as the poetry that “penetrates every pore of [Avery’s] canvas to the very last touch of the brush”. 

William Klein: Afrique at Howard Greenberg Gallery, New York: until September 17, 2022
In 1963, the American photographer William Klein travelled to Africa on assignment. On the streets of Dakar, Niger and Senegal, he captured multiple snapshots in his striking colourful style. The trip marked an important moment in Klein’s career, informing his later documentaries on what the curator David Campany describes as the “complex power structures of race”, yet most of these photographs were never published. Happily, Howard Greenberg has set out to rectify the matter, showing a selection of the works at his gallery in New York.

Studio to Stage: Music Photography from the Fifties to the Present at Pace Gallery, New York: Until August 19, 2022
Also in New York, Pace Gallery’s latest exhibition Studio to Stage focuses on “the evolution of music photography, exploring exchanges across different genres, eras, and geographic locations”. Featured image-makers include Richard Avedon, Janette Beckman, Peter Hujar, Gordon Parks and Nick Waplington, while the works’ captivating protagonists range from jazz heroes like Miles Davis and Billie Holliday to Iggy Pop, the Beastie Boys and beyond. The result is a powerful homage to “music’s potential for cultivating connections”.

In the Black Fantastic at Hayward Gallery: until September 18, 2022
For those in London, the Hayward Gallery’s latest exhibition, In the Black Fantastic, is a must-visit. Curated by Ekow Eshun, it brings together work by 11 contemporary artists from the African diaspora – including  Nick Cave, Chris Ofili, Lina Iris Viktor and Kara Walker – each of whom draws on “science fiction, myth and Afrofuturism to question our knowledge of the world”. Encompassing painting, photography, video, sculpture and mixed-media installations, the immersive display promises to both “disrupt our understanding of the past” and “invite us to imagine fantastical futures”.

Kimono Style: The John C. Weber Collection at The Met Museum, New York: until February 20, 2023
At the Met in New York, the kimono is taking centre stage in a show that investigates its compelling evolution from the late Edo period (1615-1868), when it was predominantly worn by members of the ruling military and merchant classes, through the early 20th century, when it was “adapted to suit the lifestyle of modern Japanese women”. Exquisite examples of kimonos, as well as artworks depicting the garment both feature, selected from the John C Weber Collection of Japanese art and The Costume Institute’s collection, as do a number of western designs that highlight the T-shaped robe’s wide-reaching influence.

Georgia O’Keeffe: Photographer at Denver Art Museum: until November 6, 2022
For fans of Georgia O’Keeffe, it’s time to plan a trip to Colorado, where the Denver Art Museum is hosting an exhibition of the great modernist painter’s lesser-known photographic works. Made up of around 100 images, alongside paintings, drawings and other relevant objects, the display is organised according to what the museum terms “the key tenets of O’Keeffe’s photography”. These range from “reframing” and “the rendering of light” to “seasonal change” and reveal the ways in which O’Keeffe “used photography as part of her unique and encompassing artistic vision”.

Barbara Kruger at David Zwirner, New York: until August 12, 2022
Since the late 1960s, Barbara Kruger has been using “images, text, and technology as tools of communication to reveal and question established power structures and social construct,” explains David Zwirner Gallery, where a new exhibition of the American artist’s work has just opened. Comprised of nine large-scale video works and installations, as well as sound installations and vinyl wallpaper, the show highlights the enduring relevance of Kruger’s incisive combination of words and pictures – as evidenced by her 1989 work Untitled (Your Body is a Battleground), a commentary on women’s ongoing fight for reproductive freedom.

Richard Learoyd & Irving Penn: Flowers at Hamiltons Gallery, London: until September 10, 2022
For the flower-inclined, there’s Hamiltons Gallery’s gorgeous display of floral still lifes by the late American image-maker Irving Penn and contemporary British photographer Richard Learoyd. Both artists have employed technical wizardry to showcase the extraordinary artistry of nature, making for a truly spellbinding display.

In The Mirror, online: until August 12, 2022
The Shape Open, an annual art exhibition of work by disabled and non-disabled artists, created in response to a disability-centred theme, is back with its tenth edition – now available to view online. This year’s topic is “In the Mirror”, explains the show’s accompanying text. “In culture, mirrors are used to symbolise truth. It is also said that art is a mirror turned on society, reflecting the issues and mood of the current moment.” Here, 25 artists use the mirror as their starting point, their works offering up a potent contemplation of truth, consciousness, and representation.

Christelle Oyiri: Gentle Battle at Tramway, Glasgow: until August 14, 2022
Be sure to catch the debut solo show from rising Paris-based artist and DJ Christelle Oyiri, currently on display at Tramway Glasgow. The immersive installation brings together a symbolic collection of objects, video works and music in an immersive musing on the interplay between history, identity and experience. “From Ivorian and Guadeloupean descent, Oyiri’s identity is shaped by the diplomatic, social, and metaphysical conflicts inherited from colonisation, and the trickle-down effect it has on cultural behaviours, familial history, and the experience of a wider African diaspora,” the press release expands. “With this trauma and conflict in mind ... Oyiri’s work asks: how does warfare display itself?”

Performances & Events

July’s roster of events and performances promises something for everyone. At this year’s Serpentine Pavilion, Black Chapel – designed by Theaster Gates with the support of Adjaye Associates – a whole host of live performances and public gatherings are set to provide summer stimulation. Expect performances by the likes of The Choir of the London Oratory, Moses Boyd and the Black Monks, workshops by Mud Gang Pottery CIC, and a tea ceremony by Keiko Uchida.

Meanwhile, Lift, London’s biennial festival of theatre, is back with its 2022 edition (ongoing until July 10). Highlights include Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Lina Lapelytė and Vaiva Grainytė’s acclaimed climate change opera Sun & Sea and the world premiere of The Feminine and the Foreign by Kenyan artists The Nest Collective, a collection of intimate documentary portraits celebrating Black activists.

At the Royal Opera House, meanwhile, don’t miss The Blue Woman, a potent new opera by Laura Bowler and Laura Lomas and directed by Katie Mitchell, tackling the psychological impact of violence against women.

There are lots of compelling new plays opening this month, too, from Peter Morgan’s newest offering Patriots at the Almeida, zooming in on infamous Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky’s fall from grace, to The Globe’s forthcoming production of The Tempest, opening on July 22. Finally, there’s the world premiere of Sonali Bhattacharyya’s searing new play Chasing Hares at the Young Vic, the story of a factory worker and writer in West Bengal whose decision “to expose the injustice of factory conditions and the rumours of child exploitation” proves a threat to both his future and his safety.

The theme of this year’s Venice Biennale Danza is Boundary-Less. Running from 22 - 31 July, with a whopping 69 performances spread across ten days, the festival is directed by acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor and will showcase works that marry genres, examine cultures, and ultimately reinvigorates ideas about dance.


July’s film offerings are similarly enticing. There’s Netflix’s anticipated take on Persuasion, starring former AnOther cover star Dakota Johnson as Anne Elliot, Jane Austen’s unconforming protagonist “with modern sensibilities”. Jim Archer’s offbeat comedy Brian And Charles, meanwhile, sees a lonely inventor in rural Wales take on his most ambitious project to date: an AI robot. Making for heavy but hypnotic viewing, Justin Kurzel’s Nitram tells the chilling true story of the lone gunman behind Tasmania’s Port Arthur massacre in the mid-1990s.

Then there’s Olivia Newman’s film adaptation of Delia Owens’ celebrated novel Where the Crawdads Sing, an atmospheric mystery about an abandoned girl who raised herself to adulthood in the North Carolina marshlands. Iranian director Panah Panahi makes his striking debut with Hit the Road, a family road trip comedy-drama that is as entertaining as it is elegiac. Last but not least, be sure to catch the BFI’s new season, The Language of Film, dedicated to the Indian master filmmaker Satyajit Ray and timed to coincide with his centenary. Ray’s enduringly captivating body of work harnesses the power of “exquisite dramatic detail, original music scores and some of the finest actors,” explains the BFI, resulting in expertly woven “small narratives that [hold] larger worlds in their fold“.

This month’s must-see documentaries include Donna, Jay Bedwani’s candid and uplifting portrait of 75-year-old trans activist, artist and performer Donna Personna; Wayfinder by British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong, billed as “an epic film about class and economic exclusion, belonging and displacement, cultural heritage and the meaning of home”; and Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time, Robert B Weide’s gripping ode to the radical American author’s life and work, as well as Weide’s own friendship with him.

Food & Drink

Foodies will delight in this month’s many culinary offerings and events. First up, there’s The Galvin Taste of Summer series from the Michelin-starred chefs Chris and Jeff Galvin, running from July 11 until September 11. Taking place at the brother’s restaurants in London and Essex, expect to sample unique and utterly delicious menus foregrounding the highest quality summer ingredients.

For those seeking out modern Malaysian fare, head down to Mambow at Peckham’s Market Stalls where Michelin-trained chef Abby Lee is busy whipping up flavoursome dishes made with locally sourced, seasonal and sustainable produce. (Think: Assam Pedas, a typical Malay sour fish curry with okra, aubergine, sour tamarind and a fiery spice mix, and Kerabu Pork Belly, served with crunchy fresh cucumber, tomatoes, shallots, laksa leaf, mint, pounded dried shrimp and sambal belacan.)

July 22 marks the arrival of Caia on Golborne Road, a new wine bar, restaurant and music venue offering “an extensive list of wines from storied producers and young upstarts alongside a seasonally changing menu of wine-friendly fare cooked on an open fire grill.” (We’re rather tempted by the sound of the cured seabream with tomato dashi and bottarga, and the grilled artichoke with cured egg yolk.)

Burger fans will be keen to sink their teeth into the tantalising selection of patties at Carousel’s No.23, where award-winning US burger connoisseur’s Lucky Buns have just settled in for a long-term residency. Highlights include the Lucky Bun (a double beef patty with gouda cheese, Lucky sauce, rocket, charred red onion, house dill pickles) and the Hot Tiger Bun (crispy fried chicken thigh, with habanero-Szechuan chilli oil, buttermilk ranch, Chinese mustard, shaved onion, house dill pickles), served in a late-night dive-bar-style setting.

Be sure to check out the latest iteration of chef Imad Alarnab’s Monday night supper club, Imad & Friends, a series of “engaging, inspiring and creative conversations dedicated to those making waves in the food business and beyond”, with all proceeds going to humanitarian relief organisation Choose Love. Taking place in Imad’s Syrian Kitchen at the top of Kingly Court in Soho on Monday July 25, this month’s event will be hosted by the inspiring Syrian refugee Dima Atkaa, and will feature plenty of tasty Syrian treats.

Finally, Spitalfields’ critically-acclaimed restaurant Bubala will open its second space on Poland Street on July 11, bringing its mouthwatering Middle Eastern cuisine to Soho. The fully vegetarian menu spans pickles and dips (like baba ganoush with curry leaf oil and pine nut) through sumptuous veggie skewers cooked on a yakitori grill, alongside a bold array of main courses, side dishes and desserts all designed for sharing. Bon appétit!


In fashion news, the Moncler 1952 Woman collection has just dropped. Designed by Veronica Leoni with the intention of capturing feelings of joy, vibrancy and positivity, the Italian fashion house’s acclaimed puffer jacket has been updated in white and a zesty orange.