Our top picks of exhibitions together with cultural spaces and places, both online and in the real world.

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On 20 January Joe Biden was sworn in with an appeal for unity that has never felt so important. ‘With unity we can do great things, important things,’ he said. But it was America’s 22-year-old National Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, who stole the show, inspiring viewers around the world with her self-penned poem, The Hill We Climb. ‘I really wanted to use my words to be a point of unity and collaboration and togetherness,’ she told the BBC World Service’s Newshour programme.

In celebration of Biden’s inauguration, Zuleika Gallery in Oxfordshire is staging an IRL exhibition of work by Nicola Green, artist, social historian and co-founder of The Khadija Saye IntoArts Programme. The program, which aims to address the lack of diversity in the UK arts sector, made headlines last July as a community partner of new public art project Breath is Invisible in Notting Hill. Comprising three site-specific exhibitions, Breath is Invisible launched with a brilliant installation of works by Khadija Saye, the 24-year-old artist who tragically lost her life in the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017.

In this exhibition, which is also being presented virtually, Green’s silkscreen prints are staged alongside two brand new works, Unity I and II, both of which were created in response to the 2020 presidential election.

Reproduced in red, white and blue, the design in these artworks comprises seven hands, enacting different gestures, united in a circle of light. For Green, it is a powerful example of how non-verbal gestures can embody and communicate messages. Of her two new works Green said on Instagram, ‘They’re a celebration of the democratic process, a commemoration of change, and a symbol of hope.’

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16 January 2021 — 25 April 2021
Zuleika Gallery

Viewing The Turn of The Screw, Marquee TV

With the world in and out of lockdown, it’s been a turbulent time for the arts. The good news is that Marquee TV, the global streaming platform described by the Financial Times as ‘the new Netflix for the arts’, has been doing its bit to bring the world’s greatest dance, ballet, opera and theatre to our homes.

Now it’s the turn of Benjamin Britten’s spine-chilling chamber opera, The Turn of the Screw. Based on Henry James’ Gothic novella, it tells the story of a young governess, desperate to protect her two orphan charges, Miles and Flora, from mysterious, ghostly happenings at a remote country estate.

The opera, presented and produced by OperaGlass Works, was filmed at Wilton’s Music Hall, the historic London venue where it was set to premiere in March 2020. Conducted by John Wilson and played by the Sinfonia of London, which recorded at Cadogan Hall, this daring production combines qualities of opera, theatre and film to dazzling effect.

‘The most important thing for us was to film the singers live as they performed in the theatre,’ said Eliza Thompson, Director and Co-Founder of OperaGlass Works. ‘The pianist played the accompaniment through an earpiece as they sang. John kept the beat in their ear, creating what we call a live click track, conducting them remotely. We were adapting and learning on our feet.’

OperaGlass Works’ version of The Turn of the Screw is a compelling new addition to the platform’s rich online offering — and is now available to stream on demand. Grab the popcorn, it’s time to get comfy.

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Dulwich Picture Gallery has never before staged a major exhibition dedicated to photography, but it’s more than made up for it with Unearthed, a chronological showcase charting the history of the medium from the 1840s to the present day through images of nature. It considers not just the innovations of key pioneers — such as William Henry Fox Talbot, Edward Weston and the French photographer Adolphe Braun — it also looks at their legacies and influence on later generations of photographers.

It includes work of several overlooked photographers too, among them the English gardener Charles Jones and the Japanese artist Kazumasa Ogawa, who combined printmaking and traditional Japanese craft techniques to produce coloured photographs 30 years before colour film was invented.

You’ll come face to face with everything from Victorian calotypes and close-ups of plant specimens, to beguiling images by the trailblazing symbolist Imogen Cunningham. Standout exhibits include Robert Mapplethorpe’s flagrantly erotic tulips and the dazzling video triptychs of Israeli artist Ori Gersht.

Unearthed offers a chance to revel in the reviving power of nature. In these uncertain times, it’s a much-needed tonic for the soul.

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19 May 2021 — 30 August 2021
Dulwich Picture Gallery