Thursday, May 26, 2005


Fear is merely allowing that which has not happened to cripple your present actions.

I used to be quite fearless. Until the age of 22 and 6 months I knew that all I had to do was wish for something to happen and it would. When I needed marks, I reached out lazily to my few hours study and plucked knowledge effortlessly from my mind. When I needed company I picked up to phone to one of my cherished friends and I was diverted. When I needed a job I asked and received with little need to exert myself.

Emotionally I suffered a moment of doubt once a year exactly, a yawning pit of bottomless horror that would immobilise me for about 30 seconds and pass, letting me live my life on a relentlessly optimistic upward curve. And when I was handed my darkest hour, the only person who could pull me through did so without ever allowing fear to touch my heart. I have suffered only one debilitating family death, no hardship and while I have my biting moments of shame, they are of a kind that can be righted by quick hard work.

I suspect I suffered no fear because I did not think I had anything that could be used against me. I was never more than a few hours drive from all the people I ever loved. No events I could not control drove me in directions I did not want, nor was I displeased with my circumstances. My life was easy, gentle, soothing and provided me with all I needed.

I well remember the day I let that life go. It was a petty moment, a moment of anger that was all too rare in me in those days, yet stone hard and unyielding when unleashed. I had drawn out the easy life as far as it would go and a natural watershed in my life was approaching. Someone flipped my switch once too many times and I just slammed my mind away from routine and was presented with London. I took it, not understanding anything beyond the fact that it would be like Perth, only bigger and with a different accent.

My first stab of fear was standing in the departure lounge with the last call for boarding in my ears as I frantically searched for my father, late to see me off. He came with moments to spare, but the loss started then, missing my family mere minutes after walking on the plane, missing my friends barely an hour later. It was pathetic in its unforeseen reality.

One thing about being the oldest in a group, being accustomed to being the first at everything, is that whether it is working your way through school and uni, falling in love and conducting a relationship, holding down a job or leaving for another country, you are forever conscious that you did not know what you were getting into and you are not sure you got everything out of it. Whilst you know logically that everyone goes through life doing everything for the first time, as the oldest and the first of your group to do what has been done for time immemorial, you can feel that you are still stepping where few people you know have been before.

Until two months ago I was still quite fearless. I had been toughened somewhat by my own supremely bad decisions, petty flaws of mine that had been inflated to true faults and some moments of the callousness of both life and my own untrained reactions to it that rubbed away some of the gloss of my shiny armour of optimism. On the plus side I had, within a mere 48 hours of stepping onto British soil, come home. I had stepped into the soft air and stifling ineptitudes of the only country on earth that I knew better than myself. My knowledge, my writing, my passion, my love blossomed into a wordless certainty that since I had worked so hard to get here and stay here and learn here that I would be rewarded.

And it was when I realised that all the will, the passion and the desire could not be satiated by my usual run of good luck and simple will that fear struck me. You see, I am alive on this soil and I will be dead in Perth. I fear that the void of Perth will simply stop my creative heart in its tracks. My mind will grope for stimulation and find nothing to exercise it. I fear my life, started in earnest 22 months ago, will die in 2 because I can’t get a visa. Pathetic. I should have stayed at home. At least I would not know what I was missing.

Originally posted on Exiled Britophile, a blog I updated for about twelve months when I returned home from London. Due to it's frank discussion of how horrid I found Perth, these pieces had only been read by my London readers until 2011.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


It is Eurovision week, and a European friend of mine, who shall remain nameless to preserve her dignity, has turned down a night out drinking and dancing into the wee hours with us, her girlfriends, for Eurovision. Knowing the five of us when we get together, that is being pretty serious about Eurovision.

But, you know, it is seeing that kind of seriousness about something that I don’t understand that makes living in another country so fascinating. Last night I sat at dinner with three girls who are as close to me as sisters, and they come from cultures so utterly different to my own that I get intellectually jealous that I can think in only one language, while they think and exist in two languages and two cultures.

It is both humbling and inspiring, ensuring I am eternally grateful that I never had to struggle to develop my ability to communicate in an almost universally acceptable language and guaranteeing I harbour a deep regret that I can understand so very little about other cultures because the language barrier means I cannot read their books, I cannot follow their political systems, I cannot feel their history in my bones.

My life is driven by an endless desire to understand people from all over the world and there is no greater pleasure for me than meeting a mind that grew up in another society altogether yet finding that spark of friendship. Being invited into another’s life and knowledge is what keeps me going and, unfortunately, the best way to do that is to live in a country, not just pass through as a tourist.

Today I cried in my little office in the building standing on the site of Nell Gwynn’s house on Pall Mall. I do not cry often, usually about once a year, twice in a bad year. Today I got choked up and teary because I shared some disappointing news with the girls that had celebrated my then good news last night and I got back incredibly sweet emails that included much swearing and admonitions that I was not to be sad.

But I am sad, and it does annoy me that I cannot get the only thing I want in the world. Today was my Waterloo.

Yesterday I had achieved the only thing I needed out of my stay here – I was told that P&O Ports wanted me to stay beyond my existing visa and they asked me to talk to their visa consultants about obtaining the correct papers to stay in the UK. This was the chance I was waiting for, the foot in the door, the moment to reach out with both hands and take the offer that would deliver me a cherished dream. I want to do what I love and the only way to do that is to stay in the UK.

Today I was told that there was no way I could stay in the UK, and that no money, influence or strength of desire could keep me here.

Wham, bam, thank you m’am , you REALLY have to go home. Have a nice day.

Crap. Crap, crap, crap. Crap. Crap.

Rinse and repeat.

Yup, it’s definitely that Waterloo feeling.

So I went down to the Australia shop and bought Cherry Ripes …

Monday, May 16, 2005

I want one of those, please

I have always been an admirer of beautiful cars, but I never realised how few really expensive cars I had actually seen until I joined the boy racers at the start of the Gumball 3000 rally on Saturday.

Considering it involved very expensive cars, celebrities and quite possibly scantily clad girls, I borrowed a man for the afternoon so I would look as if I actually had an excuse to be there. I am very glad that Matt did come along too, because not only was he able to tell the difference between the makes of Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis (I only had the badges to go by), but he actually made sure I got a private viewing of the cars.

The race started at 6 so we arrived at 4 and joined tens of thousands of panting boys lustfully oogling the 100 cars entered in the race. I had such a hard time trying to decide whether to

a) watch some playboy slide into a bucket seat to warm up a Pagani with a roar that nearly flattened the people standing at the rear of the car or,

b) rest my eyes in lazy appreciation on the fine specimens of wannabe-playboys holding up their camera phones to capture the beauty of the car.

Strangely enough, I think the cars won on Saturday. Even some good looking playboy drivers couldn’t distract me for long, including one strapping man whom I dubbed ’Hollywood Central Casting Hot Guy’ and a man dressed up as Marilyn Monroe who sported a spectacular tan and muscles that were somehow more masculine because they were under a platinum blonde wig and a white dress.

Anyway, at about 5 they cleared out all the fans and stacked them seven deep around the enclosure, Matt and I among them. The drivers were coming out and the cameras moved in – Darryl Hannah was doing interviews, Caprice was lying on cars and little slices of LA Gangstaland were posing with cigars, diamond earrings, topless models and tiny pet white guys in front of their Hummers.

Then Matt decided that since the plebs had cleared out, he wanted to have a closer look at the cars. So he stepped over the flimsy plastic ropes holding the well-behaved English crowd back and 'we' became 'them'.

I am not the most experienced of gatecrashers, though I have managed to get in places I shouldn’t have a few times, but Matt was doing a supremely good show of looking like he belonged with the drivers and the support crews. I think I must have been a little un-cool in comparison because I would look at some guy with his expensive car and his huge ego and just start giggling at the pretentiousness of the entire situation and the fact that I was standing in the middle of it.

It was nice to see all the cars with no crowds, and really weird to be standing four feet from the disappointingly short Darryl Hannah and feel the weight of thousands of eyes on you. I think we were about 15 minutes in the enclosure, just strolling around, admiring paint jobs, cracking jokes at the expense of men with too much money and fat rolls on their necks and models exposing themselves in the middle of London.

Finally, tearing ourselves away from those metal beauties because we were fast approaching the moment when we would be the only people in the enclosure without branded clothing, we left, not even intending to watch the start of the race.

The weird thing was walking away from those gorgeous cars and seeing normal crappy cars crowding the streets we walked. It felt like we had stepped out of real life and into a grey one.

So we decided to watch them all roar off on the first leg of the race, just to get one last fix. Once again canny planning led us to the best vantage point in the city, for while the huge crowd thronged Pall Mall about 15 people deep this time and had to try to see over police and camera crews etc, we stood at the lights at the end of the next road and the cars all stopped about 30cm away from us.

Seeing them in motion was even more pleasing, both the racers and their support crews cruising and dragging, playing up to the crowd and generally just showing off. This time we had a leisurely viewing of the 100 competition cars and their support crews in cars that were just as expensive.

Entertainingly enough, since we were in St James at the time, there was a smattering of similarly gorgeous cars driven by posh civilians with twin-set-and-pearls blonde wives next to them, looking a little put out that their Aston Martin was sitting at the lights next to one with crass branding all over it and driven by a MTV host with his flashy LA blonde next to him.

As the last polished exhaust pipe rounded the corner, Matt and I wandered off to find food in a state of suspended lust for chrome, leather and pistons. It took about three hours for me to stop sighing over the machines and, two days later, the cars on the street still look disappointingly like Tonka toys.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Puppy + New Trick

I read the Economist yesterday and I dearly wish I had picked the damn thing up a long time ago. Long have I assumed that it was an Economics Journal rather than a News Journal, I mean, what is the title of the publication? Eh? Eh?

Anyway, my boss’ copy of it was sitting on her desk and she drew my attention to the fact that it had an economic survey of Australia in it. So, expecting to be completely bamboozled by all that economic gobbledegook I started reading, and reading, and reading …

Have They Got The Ticker?

It was absolutely fascinating, mainly because it is written by an author unburdened by local bias, mostly because it was enthusiastically praising the last 15 years of Australian Government and was relentlessly optimistic about the future of the country. I was rather unnerved to discover that my loosely held, standard issue touchy-feely do-gooder political views on Howard and his Government were completely subverted by the articles I read with increasing enthusiasm.

From Keating hailed as an Economic Messiah to the assessment that Howard is one of the most successful Democratic leaders of these times and the praise heaped on Downer for showing the world how to negotiate the tightrope of pleasing both America and China, the political leaders of our country are lionised for their canny management and ruthless decisions that have borne impressive economic fruit.

I recommend that everyone get their hand on the May 5th edition of the Economist and read the survey.

One rather entertaining moment was when I picked up that the correspondent had evidently been to the East Coast, but certainly not to the other side of the continent. Despite praising Port Hedland to high heaven, they referred to 'western Australian' instead of 'Western Australia'. One day we will not be reduced to the outside paddock of Sydney!

The most important thing I have taken away from my first reading of my new favourite journal is the admonition that we must always look at what a Government does, not what it says. I think I will be reading foreign economic commentators from now on to ensure I get an opinion from the outside, from the people who only see the results, and not the means.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

May Museum Calendar

Shakespeare's Globe


The 2005 summer theatre season at Shakespeare’s Globe has been announced as The Season of The World and Underworld. Three plays by Shakespeare - The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale and Pericles – will be joined by an adaptation of The Storm by Plautus. This Graeco-Roman comedy has been adapted by Peter Oswald whose previous work for the Globe, The Golden Ass, was a huge hit in 2002. In addition to these productions, two company projects will explore voice and the use of masks on the Globe stage.

The Season of The World and Underworld, which begins on 6 May, will examine the influence of classical Greece on Shakespeare’s works. The season will finish on 2 October with The Tempest. It will be Mark Rylance’s final performance as artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe.

The Natural History Museum


Diane Maclean, Sculpture and Works on Paper
Until October 2005
Admission: FREE

Visit our latest outdoor sculpture exhibition in partnership with The Royal British Society of Sculptors. Environmental artist Diane Maclean has, in collaboration with Museum scientists, created a mirror-finished, stainless steel 'mountain' installation through which visitors can walk, experiencing sights and sounds from deep within our planet. The exhibition also features accompanying works on paper in Gallery 50.

Photography by James Mollison
From 28 May

Explore James Mollison's beautiful and emotive oversized portraits of gorillas, chimpanzees, orang-utans and bonobos, and sense the unique personality and intelligence of these magnificent and threatened apes - our closest biological relatives.

This engaging exhibition encourages us to consider our relationship with, and our treatment of, the natural world by bringing us closer to some of the individual animals most affected by our actions.

Super-sensing T. rex returns - Prehistoric giant roars back to life
T. rex makes a dramatic return to the Museum's Dinosaur Gallery. Unlike previous animatronic models, this one uses its 'senses' to spot prey - including unsuspecting visitors. Also on display will be the fossilised lower jaw of the first T. rex ever discovered and visitors can examine T. rex teeth that measure a staggering fifteen centimetres.

Wildlife Garden
Free until October 2005
Escape the city and wander through the tranquil habitats of the Wildlife Garden. Opened 10 years ago as our first living exhibition and set in the Museum grounds, the Wildlife Garden reveals a range of British lowland habitats, including woodland, meadow and pond. The garden also demonstrates the potential for wildlife conservation in the inner city. Please note that the garden is closed during bad weather.

Darwin Centre Live is a varied programme of free events where Museum curators and researchers talk about their work, recent scientific discoveries and the Museum's vast collections.


9 July 2005 - 26 February 2006
Admission: CHARGED

Celebrating the natural and cultural power of these extraordinary gemstones, this blockbuster exhibition will showcase some of the world's most impressive diamonds and will reveal the fascinating story of their evolution from deep in the Earth to the red carpet.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2005
October 2005 - April 2006. Admission: £5, £3 concessions, £12 family
Organised by the Museum and BBC Wildlife Magazine, the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition is the most prestigious and successful event of its kind in the world.

Science Museum

Future Face
Future Face asks questions about the human face and identity and considers what faces might look like in the future. As digital faces become as 'real' as live ones, and as even face transplants become a reality, how will our notions of identity be affected? Drawing from the collections of the Metropolitan Museum, New York, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, the Hollywood Museum, the Imperial War Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Wellcome Trust and the Science Museum, the exhibition will feature over 200 historical and contemporary photographs, paintings, multimedia installation and objects.

The Dana Centre
Join us at the Dana Centre as we explore the science of luck, look at environmental crises and trade opinions in a nanotechnology card game. We'll also be going digital with the two-day Cybermusic festival and an evening exploring women's use of technology.

Imperial War Museum

Great Escapes
This special exhibition features some of the extraordinary escape attempts made by Allied servicemen from German prisoner of war camps in the Second World War and will look at the fact and fiction surrounding The Wooden Horse, The Great Escape and Colditz. Interactive and hands-on displays will allow children and adults alike to try on disguises, forge an identity pass, crawl through an escape tunnel, find out fascinating facts about escape attempts, and use their ingenuity to make their own escape from Colditz.

The Children’s War
To mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, this major exhibition will look at the conflict through the eyes of British children. It will provide a moving insight into the lives of evacuees who had to adjust to separation from family and friends and to children who stayed in towns and cities during the Blitz.

Visitors can find out more about evacuation, the threat of gas attacks, air raid precautions, rationing, school and work, pastimes and entertainment, VE Day celebrations. As well as being able to go inside an Anderson shelter, visitors can walk through a recreation of a wartime house and view sections of a 'prefab' home. Outside the house, the victory celebrations of 1945 and hopes and plans for the future will be featured around original sections of a ‘prefab’ home. Interactors and those who lived through the war as children will make regular appearances to bring the exhibition to life by sharing their memories and experiences.

Among the items on display will be mementoes and toys belonging to Kindertransport children who came to Britain from Germany in 1939; a baby’s gas mask: an evacuee’s label and teddy bear; touching letters written by children and their servicemen fathers; wartime books, toys and games; and a commemorative Victory china cup given to a child on VE Day.

The Children’s War exhibition, which will run for three years is part of Their Past Your Future – a £10 million, 15-month programme of commemorative and educational events led by the Imperial War Museum to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, supported by the Big Lottery Fund through their Veterans Reunited programme.

The National Portrait Gallery

Lee Miller : Portraits
Wolfson Gallery,
Admission £7/£4.75

Lee Miller (1907-77) was one of the most extraordinary photographers of the twentieth century. A legendary beauty and fashion model, Miller became an acclaimed surrealist photographer in her own right. This exhibition presents 120 of her black-and-white portrait studies and includes intimate portraits of Pablo Picasso, Max Ernst and Marlene Dietrich.

Frida Kahlo : Portrait of an Icon
This selection of fifty photographs of the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-54) includes both black and white images, and some previously unexhibited works in colour, from throughout her life. They follow the artist's transition from precocious child to famous artist, documented by many leading photographers of the twentieth century, including Lola and Manuel Bravo, Edward Weston and Imogen Cunningham.

Conquering England – Ireland in Victorian London
Porter Gallery
Admission Free

Examining the Irish presence in London during the Victorian period this exhibition focuses on artists, politicians and theatrical impresarios who helped shape changing perspectives on Ireland. The show also explores the lives and work of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and W.B. Yeats. Works in a wide range of media are featured, from oil paintings, drawings and prints to contemporary magazines, books and manuscripts.

Derry Moore Photographs
Room 37a
Derry Moore has been one of this country's pre-eminent photographers for nearly thirty years. This retrospective features twenty-five portraits from throughout his career including L.S. Lowry, David Bowie and a rarely seen portrait of Princess Diana with her two sons Prince William and Prince Harry.

Friday 13 May, 6.30pm
The outstanding all-girl a cappella group present a selection of popular classics with style, grace and verve, including Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, Some Enchanted Evening and Let's do it (Let's Fall in Love).

Lee Miller and the Human Head
Thursday 19 May, 7pm
Richard Calvocoressi, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, and curator of Lee Miller: Portraits.

Solo Piano Recital
Friday 20 May, 6.30pm
Pianist Sara Leport presents a varied programme, which will include Beethoven's much loved Pathetique Sonata, two vividly contrasting Schubert Impromptus and works from the 20th century culminating with Fina's capricious Bumbleboogie.

Family Matters
Thursday 26 May, 7pm
Roger Hargreaves, Photography Programmes Manager, National Portrait Gallery, looks at family photographs in the Gallery's Collection.

Conquering England Music Series: Yeats and Joyce
Friday 27 May, 6.30pm
Julian Hubbard (baritone) returns to the Gallery to perform musical settings of the literary works of W.B. Yeats, alongside music inspired by another great Irish writer, James Joyce.

National Maritime Museum

SeaBritain 2005 is a major year long celebration of the sea, culminating in the Trafalgar Festival with events marking the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and Nelson's death. Events of all sizes will be taking place all over the country throughout the year, including the NMM's own Nelson & Napoleon exhibition.

Nelson and Napoléon

Nelson & Napoléon will examine how the men earned their reputations, their personal lives and the political and military conditions that brought them to the fore. The exhibition will show the impact of the French Revolution and Napoléon on Britain and will look in depth at the Battle of Trafalgar.

It will examine Nelson’s tactics and challenge some myths about the battle and the two leaders, offering new insights based on the very latest research – much of which is being carried out at the National Maritime Museum.

Summer 2005 Courses

Cruel Sea
Free admission
During WWII more than 30,000 civilian men and women from all parts of the commonwealth died at sea. Some of their wartime colleagues from the Merchant Navy have shared their memories of sea and service during WWII in a new creative exhibition from Age Exchange, Cruel Sea.

The exhibition includes memories and stories never shared by the veterans before, and highlights the achievement and heroism of individuals and the important role the Merchant Navy played during the war.

Victoria and Albert Museum

Forest Without Leaves
Admission free
Abbas Kiarostami will transform one of the V&A's galleries into a three dimensional forest of trees, made up of huge hollow tubes completely covered with life size photographs of bark.

The installation is part of a long term investigation by Kiarostami into the way we see our surroundings. He believes that we have become accustomed to only look at the detail in nature once it has been framed and placed in a museum environment. Through this installation he persuades the viewer to take a closer look at the world around them.

Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway's wardrobe 1896-1938
Queen Maud of Norway, daughter of Edward VII and Queen Alexandra, was renowned for her fashionable style. Her clothes document an extraordinary era of fashion history, from the decorative but elaborate dress of the Victorian era to the streamlined chic of the 1930s.

This display includes some 50 outfits comprising elegant evening dresses, smart tailored suits and simple day dresses, sporting ware, sumptuous state gowns and accessories.
Admission free

International Arts and Crafts
The Arts and Crafts movement was one of the most far-reaching, influential and popular design movements of modern times. Emerging in Britain in the late nineteenth century, it was quickly adapted in America, continental Europe and Scandinavia, until its final manifestations as the folk craft movement in Japan.

This will be the first major exhibition to explore Arts and Crafts as a truly international style. 300 objects from museums and private collections around the world will be on display including furniture, textiles, ceramics, jewellery, paintings and sculpture.

Inside Out: British Architecture and Garden Design since the Renaissance
Admission Free
The Renaissance ignited a new-found interest among architects to explore the relationship between buildings and landscape. To this day, some architects' designs fit harmoniously within their settings: others create buildings that stand proud of everything around them.

There are free gallery talks every day at 13.00.

The National Gallery

Caravaggio : The Final Years

The exhibition will remain open until 9pm on the evenings of Monday 16 - Friday 20 May and on Sunday 22 May. It will stay open until midnight on Saturday 21 May.

Tickets for these extra hours are now on sale, and advance booking is highly recommended to ensure you don't miss what has been widely acclaimed as the show of the year.

Caravaggio (1571 - 1610) was at the height of his fame as the most original and powerful painter of his day, when in May 1606, he killed a man in a duel. With a capital sentence on his head, he was forced to flee Rome, never to return.

During the remaining four years of his life, Caravaggio's art underwent a dramatic transformation as he moved restlessly from Naples to Malta to Sicily. He continued to use intensely observed realism and dramatic lighting to endow his paintings with a compelling sense of actuality. However, the mood of the pictures became more introspective as he probed the human condition more acutely and with greater sympathy than ever before.

This exhibition will concentrate on this relatively little known period in Caravaggio's career. It will bring together paintings from the remote centres in which he worked so that his profound late style can be fully appreciated for the first time.

There is a calendar of events for this exhibition here.

John Virtue's 'epic' paintings on show

Simon Schama described the paintings as 'punk epics: gritty, brazen with tough truth'.

These powerful cityscapes of central London have made an enormous impact on visitors to the exhibition in the Sunley Room while two of Virtue's monumental paintings are displayed in the circulation spaces of the Gallery.

'John Virtue: London Drawings' runs concurrently at the Courtauld Institutue of Art Gallery, Somerset House.

'Take One Picture'

'Take One Picture' celebrates its tenth anniversary this year. Each year the National Gallery focuses on one picture from the nation's collection and invites teachers from across the UK to use it as a stimulus for delivering different curriculum subject areas.

This year Degas's 'Beach Scene' has been the inspiration, and eight schools have been chosen to exhibit their work at the Gallery.

'Stubbs and the Horse'
'Stubbs and the Horse' will be the first exhibition to focus solely on the subject closest to the artist's heart - the horse. His influential patrons engaged him to paint touching portraits of their prized horses, family estates and staff at work in the mid-18th century. This fascinating period when the horse, both tame and wild, captured the imagination by representing speed, intelligence and grace is explored in this engaging exhibition.

Wednesday Lates
The Gallery is open late every Wednesday from 6-9pm.

Tate Modern

Joseph Beuys
Actions, Vitrines, Environments
Joseph Beuys is considered to be one of the most influential figures in modern and contemporary art and this is the first UK exhibition dedicated to his work.

Believing that art had the power to shape a better society, Beuys communicated his often radical social and political views through three main activities - actions, vitrines and environments. His 'actions' or performances are explored through records of these momentous events and several vitrines, presenting objects which Beuys considered to be socially significant are on show. Also featured are a number of Beuys' large-scale 'environments', including his seminal work The Pack.

August Strindberg
Painter, Photographer, Writer
Celebrated as a prolific writer of plays, novels and poetry, August Strindberg was also an extremely radical painter for his time.

Turning to painting when his capacity as a writer failed him, Strindberg found inspiration in the awe-inspiring landscape around his native Stockholm. He painted the waves, rocks and ever-changing skies in a vast array of colours and moods. Although landscapes in subject matter, these works can also be seen as symbolic self-portraits offering an illuminating insight into the mind of this often-troubled genius.

Tate Britain

Joshua Reynolds
The Creation of Celebrity

Opens May 26
Joshua Reynolds's renowned portraits represent the cream of eighteenth century society. From Dr Samuel Johnson to the actress Mrs Siddons, the paintings catalogue the biggest celebrities of the day – and show that Reynolds was partly responsible for building the cult of celebrity that we are now so familiar with.

This show includes the famous Portrait of Omai, the young Polynesian man who came to England with Captain Cook, and who achieved iconic status in eighteenth-century society.

Turner Whistler Monet
Turner Whistler Monet is an extraordinary exhibition which draws on the influences and relationship between three giants of nineteenth century art. This exhibition has already been a huge success in Toronto and Paris and its arrival at Tate Britain is eagerly anitcipated.

JMW Turner, James Abbott McNeill Whistler and Claude Monet each changed the course of landscape painting and this exhibition, featuring 100 paintings, watercolours, prints and pastels, traces for the first time the artistic dialogue between them. The exhibition is sponsored by Ernst &Young.

Whistler and Monet were friends and collaborators who shared a deep admiration for the work of Turner. Their work and aims made a vital contribution both to the development of Impressionism, the art movement that emerged in the 1870s, and the evolution of a symbolist landscape. On close examination, a pattern of themes and variations begun by Turner appears to have been developed in the artistic interchange between the younger artists Whistler and Monet.

For artists committed to working from nature and seeking beauty in contemporary environments, industrialism and its pollution presented an aesthetic dilemma. They directed their focus increasingly on transient effects of light and weather and revisited their subjects under varying conditions, experimenting with innovative painting techniques, adapting the tentative quality of the sketch, delicate veils of watercolour wash, and the chalky quality of pastel to their oil paintings, which led to accusations of lack of detail and finish. The exhibition focuses on views of the River Thames, the Seine and the city and lagoon of Venice, works which were controversial in their own day but are now seen as some of the most poetic, evocative images of nature ever produced.

The exhibition is divided into six thematic sections beginning with a room displaying some of Turner's oils and watercolours that were on view in London when Whistler and Monet visited and from which they went on to develop their own distinctive effects. This is followed by a room showing Whistler and Monet's early views of London, capturing its unique atmospheric conditions and beginning the transition from a realist to an impressionist approach to landscape. Whistler's Nocturnes, magical and dreamlike paintings of London by night, are given a section of their own.

Monet's paintings of Mornings on the Seine echo the Nocturnes and are displayed along with Turner's views of Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, showing both artists working in series. Whistler and Monet returned to London in the 1880s and 1890s and these later views of the city form the next room. It includes the extraordinary views of the Houses of Parliament by Monet and Whistler's charming lithographs depicting his panoramic view from the Savoy hotel. The exhibition closes with the three artists' visions of Venice. From Turner's watercolours of vast lagoon expanses, shimmering light and reflections to Whistler's shadowy forms and distinctive light effects to Monet's synthesis of the two, all three artists found inspiration in this sublime city.

The British Museum

The Africa Garden is open to the public until September and is the final creation of the BBC's Ground Force team. New sculptures by artists from Ghana to Mozambique, some with work featured in the Museum's African Galleries, now stand among spectacular flora from three climate zones enabling visitors to consider from different perspectives the African cultures they come from.
Greenfingered? The Africa Garden needs volunteers...

Wealth of Africa: 4000 years of Money and Trade
Room 69a
Admission Free

Africa has a long and rich history, spanning ancient kingdoms, colonialism and independence. The story begins with the use of weighed metal in ancient Egypt, and with Africa’s earliest coins in Cyrenaica (modern-day Libya) in the sixth century BC. The wealth of Mali, Zimbabwe and the Swahili coast show Africa’s power and influence before the arrival of European colonisers and slave traders, whose legacy still lingers. Links between money and identity are explored through changes to coinage during the spread of Christianity and Islam, along with the designing of currencies in the twentieth century for newly-independent African countries.

Views from Africa
Admission Free
Discover a uniquely African story of encounters with Europe over the last 500 years. From masquerade masks to exported salt cellars, many of the objects featured in Views from Africa depict Europeans directly. Others explore Europe's diverse influences - the sacred, comic, economic and fashionable - among African communities and cultures. Through the challenges of trade, religion, war and peace, Views from Africa reflects not only the most personal experiences but also a dynamic social engagement with change.

Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector
Room 90
Admission free

The print collection of Ferdinand, son of Christopher Columbus, is the earliest known to historians. The prints themselves were dispersed long ago, but an inventory preserved in Seville describes 3200 engravings, woodcuts and maps. The exhibition presents a partial reconstruction of this collection with around 150 prints by all the most important Renaissance printmakers. Included are works from Italy by Antonio Polllaiuolo, Marcantonio Raimondi and Giovanni Battista Palumba; from Germany by Albrecht Dürer, Albrect Altdorfer, Hans Baldung and Hans Weiditz; from the low countries by Lucas van Leyden and Jost de Negker. Many are large format prints such as maps that have rarely been exhibited. A highlight of the exhibition is a stencil coloured genealogical tree of the House of Charles V by Robert Peril that is 7.3 metres long.

Exhibition closing dates – free unless otherwise indicated

15/05/05 August Strindberg : Painter, Photographer, Writer / Tate Modern / ticketed
15/05/05 Turner Whistler Monet / Tate Britain / ticketed
22/05/05 Caravaggio : The Final Years / National Gallery / ticketed
22/05/05 Frida Kahlo: Portraits of an Icon / National Portrait
30/05/05 Lee Miller : Portraits / National Portrait / ticketed

05/06/05 Ferdinand Columbus: Renaissance Collector / British Museum
05/06/05 John Virtue : London Drawings / National Gallery
05/06/05 Forest Without Leaves : Abbas Kiarostami / Victoria and Albert
19/06/05 Inside Out: British Architecture and Garden Design since the Renaissance / Victoria and Albert
26/06/05 Wealth of Africa / British Museum
28/06/05 Cruel Sea / National Maritime

24/07/05 Views from Africa / British Museum
24/07/05 International Arts and Crafts / Victoria and Albert / ticketed
31/07/05 Great Escapes / Imperial War / ticketed

14/08/05 Mummy: The Inside Story / British Museum / ticketed

18/09/05 Face to Face / Natural History

01/10/05 Diane Maclean, Sculpture and Works on Paper / Natural History
31/10/05 Wildlife Garden / Natural History

13/11/05 Nelson and Napoléon / National Maritime / ticketed

08/01/06 Style and Splendour: Queen Maud of Norway's wardrobe 1896-1938 / Victoria and Albert

26/02/06 Diamonds / Natural History / ticketed