August 15th, 2006


British Museum and Beetroot

I just got in from spending the day with my mum for her birthday. We went to the British Museum and saw a temporary exhibition there called Word into Art, which I highly recommend. It was all modern Middle Eastern art featuring words, poems and religious texts, such as the Qur'an, in a variety of scripts. Most of it was drawn or painted, but there were some photographs and manipulated photographs, and pottery with texts written or sculpted onto them. There was really amazing use of colour. I actually feel like I learned something about Middle Eastern culture from the exhibition that I wouldn't have been able to absorb in another medium.

We also saw an exhibition called Living and Dying which features objects and photographs of how people treat health and funerals in various parts of the world. It was mostly focused on minority cultures, including some indigenous peoples from countries I hadn't even heard of before. There were four wonderful Mexican papier mache constructions of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and apparently the entire artwork they were from features 132 figures - you could buy a tiny postcard of the whole thing. In the centre of the exhibition was a long artwork called Cradle to Grave, which features "all the pills an average man and woman would take in their lives". I felt some artistic license had been taken with it - the woman is supposedly still alive now aged 82, but at one point in her lifechart aged around 32 she'd had post-natal depression, and this was depicted with Prozac pills - a drug that certainly wasn't available 50 years ago! Ah well.

We also saw The Royal Game of Ur - one of the oldest known board games in the world, and the Sculptures in the Great Court - which again are much bigger and more vibrant and interesting than the little pictures on the web site.

After the museum we went to Costa for a hot drink, then to a vegetarian cafe called Beetroot that I've been wanting to go to for ages but never made it to. It's one of these places like the old Beacon cafe in Kingston that closed a few years ago, and how Food for Friends in Brighton used to be - you buy a box of a certain size and they fill it with food for you from the 8 different hot and 8 different cold options. You tell them all the different things you want and they put it all together as a meal. I had tofu stir-fry, brown rice, broccolli, roasted vegetables and a couple of veggie sausage rolls in a £5.50 box, plus organic orange & mango crush. All their cakes are vegan!! so I had vegan chocolate fudge cake with vanilla soy custard plus a "Belgian chocolate" cornflake crunchie thing. Am now totally stuffed.