One of the joys of London is its international arts scene which features international artists both from abroad and who now live here – which makes a nonsense of Brexit.
Brazil – Canada – Korea: The three countries have their art spaces around Trafalgar Square, so it is possible to visit all three together to see entirely different aspects of art and photography from the three countries.
Paulo Pimentel (born in Rio de Janiero in 1952) came to fame as a television journalist when his recordings of Pope John travelling along the Amazon in 1980 were transmitted by TV stations across the world. Alongside his work in television, he has been a keen photographer. He now lives in London where his exhibition ‘Canavieiros’ at the Embassy of Brazil shows black and white photographs where the deep texture of the sugar cane and the hillsides on which it was growing, and the scars on hands and the furrows on faces of the labourers are highlighted in these photographs from 1987 showing labourers and their families hand-cutting the sugar cane on the huge plantations of the Zona da Mata region in Northeast Brazil during the boom of the Brazilian ethanol programme.
At the Korean Cultural Centre UK, Jungyoon Hyen (born in South Koreal in 1990, three years after Pimenel took his photographs in Brazil), is showing her sculptural installations ‘Walking on Tiptoes’ as the winner of the KCCUK and Space Studio Award for emerging Korean artists in the UK. Here she explores the tensions between authorities, communities and individuals in a city, often using the debris lying around the streets as inspiration – broken barrier posts, concrete blocks, abandoned cycle chains and rope and the like. Her work at the ground floor gallery of the KCCUK looks out over London, creating a tension between the inside and outside.
At the Canada Gallery at Canada House is something entirely different – seven guitars commissioned by the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario, with each guitar created by a master luthier taking inspiration from one of Canada’s Group of Seven artists in the Collection – the first recognised Canadian art movement formed in the 1920’s, with different images in different parts of the guitars, including some hidden inside.