Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Monday, 31 August 2015

The Black British Girlhood Exhibition


By Olivia Twist
The Black British Girlhood exhibition took place earlier this month in Hackney Central. I initially knew nothing about the show, not until my friend from the US tagged me in a photo on Instagram which advertised the show (Thanks Faith!)

A number of artists came together to present -'The Black Britsh Girlhood' where a group of talented women displayed memories and nostalgic moments of their childhood through illustrations, graphics, photography and painting. I had never been to an exhibition like this before, and felt overjoyed that it had been done. An exhibition I could not only understand but relate to as the artists portrayed and descriptively explained experiences and memories of their own childhood and shared views on displacement, belonging and the cultural hybrid that exists being born British yet still having an undeniable bond to their African/Caribbean heritage and backgrounds. Curator Bekke Popoola mentions the parallels in having a dual nationality, being British and Nigerian “I would say that inside my home was Nigeria and outside of that was England.” The event was ever so nostalgic, reminding me of my own experiences growing up. One of the artists Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh also known as Olivia Twist mention despite being and only child she was never alone, as she always surrounded my family (cousins in particular). As I read this on the wall alongside her stunning artwork my own childhood memories I had flashbacks of my own childhood in my mind.

Here is just a few of the artwork by artists who took part in the show.

I ask both Olivia Mathurin-Essandoh and Bekke Popoola why they had decided to take part in this courageous display of artwork.

YASMIN: Why did you take part in the Black British Girlhood Exhibition?

OLIVIA: "I want to see myself in galleries, I want to spot my mother brother and uncle in piece. In order for this to happen. I have noticed we have to create what we want to see. We cant wait for it just to appear. I just graduated from university of the arts london and every term there are big exhibitions up and i rarely saw myself represented in the work. I decided i will no longer be invisible in the academic art world."
YASMIN: What do you want to your audience to understand/see about your work?

OLIVIA: "I want my audience to be encouraged i want my audience to share experiences. I want to unify my audience through my work. I want to highlight similarities and most of all I want to celebrate with this familiar audience whilst teaching a new audience."

To find out more about Olivia and future exhibitions +olivia twist / http://yesoliviatwist.com 


YASMIN: Why did you take part in the Black British Girlhood Exhibition?

BEKKE: "Doing this exhibtion was something that is needed and wanted to explore. Also  to share stories with others too."


By Bekke Popoola
YASMIN:What advice would you give your young Becky (10y/o) now?


BEKKE:"I would say that it's okay to enjoy the things you do and create and she is cool."


 To find out more about Bekke and future exhibitions +Becky popoola / Twitter 


By Kay Davis
By Kay Davis
By Rachel Mfon


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Friday, 28 August 2015

A weekend in Austria


Ok the title of this post is a little deceiving, I wasn't really in Austria, I went to Bath Spa for the weekend as a friend of mine hosted a bonfire night. However the landscapes and fields reminded me of the Sound of Music settings… get it? So I kind of made myself believe that I was abroad after a while. I had never been to Bath before, I had a walk through the town after stopping at Rosario’s cafĂ© for breakfast where they have an endless supply of different styled teas, coffees and cakes. Not to forget the food which was great and reasonably priced in the homely three storey traditionally stoned interior.



The three-hour journey to Bath from London was not bad at all, in fact it didn’t feel that long. We got £10 return coach via Victoria Station. It was not long until we all made our way to my friend’s house where we played summer games such as rounders, archery and other activities until the sun went down. I didn’t see as much of Bath as I would have liked to, but there was just no time to fit everything in. I will definitely visit Bath another time to see all it has to offer. The weekend away made me to contemplate about all the other places and cities I have not been to in the UK. Why am I so eager to travel abroad when there is a lot I have not seen on the island I live on?

Here are some pictures of the weekend in Bath, which was a nice getaway for us all from the city we know and love! (London)!

The Potts aka the best hosts!
The morning after..




'the hills are alive!'







Until next time Bath….



'So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, goodbye!'




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Saturday, 8 August 2015

The Brutalist Playground


The Brutalists Playground is an installation meets playground at RIBA, London. The installation that was inspired by former abstract play spaces that used to be situated in London's post-war housing estates, currently acts as a communal space for all ages. All elements of the playground have been created at a 1.1 scale, for different audiences to interact and engage with the scene that we recognise to be outdoors. Assemble and artist Simon Terrill have recreated a time when these playgrounds were places to play whilst giving 'free reign to the imagination' of kids. The use of pastel colours complemented the installation alongside the soft foam material used to create the structures. A suitable contrast to the playgrounds the installation was inspired by such as the Churchill Gardens Estate, that were made out or more permanent materials such as concrete. What I found notable about this installation/playground was the idea of re-imagining history, creating a contemporary narrative and redeeming the work of 'brutalist' playgrounds that were in the 70's once labelled unsuitable for play. A preview of how they could be applied today.

The Brutalist Playground closes on the 16th August 2015








Churchill Gardens estate - Pimlico, London 1978

The Brutalist Playground closes on the 16th August 2015
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Monday, 3 August 2015

2015 Serpentine Pavilion by Selgascano

Lask week after viewing Alexander Mcqueen's 'Savage Beauty' exhibition at London's V&A museum I thought it was only right to go and view this year's Pavillion by Spanish Architects 'Selgascano at the Serpentine Gallery. During the arrival I was quick to notice the vibrant colours, how could you not. I instantly made the association of all of these bright almost fluorescent looking colours being that the pavillion was going to involve games or physical interactions on some sort within the pavillion (an adult park! = my dream!) but it was not that all, in fact it was very much for opposite with very minimal activity happening. I was quite disappointed.






Whenever I do not instantly warm towards something, I find the reason I feel this way is because I do not understand the concept or complexity of what one has created. It's these initial thoughts that make me notice and focus on the detail and formation. After I made my way out of the pavilion because I couldn't bear the temperature as the sun shined upon the plastic roofing, I made a wonderful analysis from its exterior sitting on one of the many patches green surrounding the pavilion. Despite the use of materiality not corresponding greatly with the current climate, the translucent plastics that are wrapped around the structures gives you a preview of the interior before you have even entered it. The outer structural frames differs from the interior structures as they frames curve for the arched effect. From my view of the outside of the Pavilion I noticed the variation and levels in the flooring, the floor painted in a statement white with the tapered plastics strips reflecting the same pattern in a shadow form on the floor. I appreciated the design from the outside looking in i guess. This way of experiencing the pavilion would not have been possible without the material I only a few minutes ago could not possibly understand why they used. The experimentation of plastic is beyond commendable, I had never seen anything like it. The use of colour also created a pleasant atmosphere which only complimented the summer weather as different people and ages huddle around the vibrant structure.

This Pavilion is ground breaking not only within its use of materiality, however left with two opinions it challenged my thoughts as a designer. Previous Pavilion's such as Sou Fujimoto's I intently conned with and admired, whereas this year's pavilion it took some time for me to understand and appreciate.


 I was only inside for a couple of minutes as  the heat upon the plastic material the dome structure made out of, made the interior unbearably humid. The materiality used is not the best for Britain's unpredictable weather. I would suggest that you visit the pavilion during the evening hours to get the full essence of the design whilst the temperature is cooler.


Share your thoughts on the Serpentine Pavilion 2015 by Selgascano


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