Artbeat: weekly arts diary

18th May 2001 at 01:00

It is almost possible to imagine you are in Cape Town or Johannesburg rather than the upstairs hall of Henry Fawcett primary school in Kennington, south London. A class of Year 4 children are singing "Shoshaloza", the mining protest song often learned by children in South Africa. Their confidence speaks volumes about the commitment of both the school and the artists working with them.

Jacky Mbuyiselwa Semela, a founder member of Step Africa and Soweto Dance Project, has helped develop the Soweto Carnival, experience that is useful for this project, which is part of the six-week London festival, Celebrate South Africa . Jacky is one of a group of South African and UK-based artists working in three primary and one secondary school preparing a performance for 200 children which will be part of the Coin Street Festival on May 28. Music, crafts, costumes, singing and dancing will come together in the open air on the South Bank and at the Royal Festival Hall.
Information: Coin Street Festival, 020 7401 3610; or

May 28 is also Oak Apple Day , when traditionally Charles II's escape into the boughs of an oak is commemorated. There will be tree-related activities and guided walks at Oakwell Hall Country Park, Nutter Lane, Birstall, West Yorkshire, and an afternoon of crafts and quizzes. Information: 01924 326240.

Children from seven primary schools in Kent, Dorset and London are having their work exhibited at the National Gallery. This is the culmination of Take One Picture 2001 , a project involving 100 primary schools. Teachers who attended National Gallery one-day courses were given a print of a painting which they took back to school. Work by other primary schools may be seen on a video showing at the exhibition. Information: 020 7747 2885.

This is Museums and Galleries Month and half-term is almost upon us, so the Barbican in London is likely to be receiving more young visitors than usual. Teenagers will love Jam: London-Tokyo , a multimedia mix of new technology, fashion, photography, graphics and music.

If you look down into the well of the Barbican Gallery you can't miss the full-length "Big Nudes" in the exhibition of Helmut Newton's photographs. Art, fashion and soft porn are present in equal measure in Newton's work. He photographs what turns him on.

Also at the Barbican Centre: Myths and Monsters is billed as "a magical odyssey through the caverns and grottos of the Barbican, now haunted by long-forgotten monsters". Eight primary schools have worked with actors, storytellers and artists to build some splendid installations. Collect your map and find them all. Barbican information: 020 7638 4141.


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