Five Shows to See in the UK This February

From Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley’s interactive exploration of Black trans allyship to Lubaina Himid’s overdue retrospective at Tate Modern

BY frieze in Exhibition Reviews , UK Reviews | 28 JAN 22

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley 

Arebyte Gallery, London

19 November 2021 – 19 February 2022 

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley’s ‘She Keeps Me Damn Alive’ at Arebyte Gallery, London, is an immersive, point-and-shoot gamified exploration of responsibility, choices and consequences. The pro-Black and pro-trans game tasks visitors with eliminating enemies across three simulated scenes: The Ocean, The Dungeon and The City. Brathwaite-Shirley disrupts the flippant use of arms in gaming by applying heavy consideration to the outcomes of a misfire, repeatedly asking players how powerful or excited they feel to be toting a gun. – Lauren Dei 

Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, ‘SHE KEEPS ME DAMN ALIVE’, 2021, installation view. Courtesy: © Arebyte Gallery, London; photograph: Dan Weill


Seventeen Gallery, London 

11 December 2021 – 19 February 2022  

‘Engineered’ by the artists Joey Holder and Omsk Social Club (OSC), the group exhibition ‘Memeplex™’ at Seventeen presents itself as a chichi, creepily Squid Game-hued ‘neuro-ops’ clinic, decked out with what might be therapeutic paraphernalia or contemporary artworks, or perhaps both. In a form of Live-Action Role-Playing (LARP) game, we’re invited to don headphones and navigate the show while listening to a lulling narrative, told in the second person. The voice tells us that we’re disoriented patients who’ve just woken up from a medical procedure, before breaking into a husky rendition of Bobby McFerrin’s 1988 acapella track Don’t Worry, Be Happy. – Tom Morton 

‘Memeplex™’, 2022, exhibition view. Courtesy: the artists and Seventeen, London; photograph: Damian Griffiths

Lubaina Himid

Tate Modern, London

25 November 2021 – 03 July 2022 

Taking Himid’s preoccupation with theatre as its premise, the artist’s current exhibition at Tate Modern is the most extensive presentation of her work to date and an overdue retrospective for the 67 year old, who was the oldest artist and first Black woman to win the Turner Prize in 2017. Envisaged as an exhibition that unfolds across several ‘scenes’, the show places the visitor at the centre of this so-called stage, which warrants active participation – or, at least, that’s the intention. – Allie Biswas 

Lubaina Himid
Lubaina Himid, Between the Two my Heart is Balanced, 1991, acrylic on canvas, 1.2 × 1.5 m. Courtesy: © the artist and Tate

‘Our Silver City, 2094’

Nottingham Contemporary

20 November 2021 – 18 April 2022 

In November 2021, Nottingham Contemporary opened ‘Our Silver City 2094’– an exhibition that presents a vision of how Nottingham could be transformed by the end of the century, following decades of climatic calamity, social upheaval and technological collapse. The show – billed as an ‘exhibition-as-sci-fi-novel, or vice versa’ – is accompanied by an enthralling and deeply moving new novella by Liz Jensen. At times, the works on display create a meaningful dialogue with the book’s themes of displacement and violence, resurrection and community, the rebirth of spirituality and a connectedness to nature. Elsewhere, they scatter in many directions, befuddlingly, like animals threatened by a flood or a forest fire – one of two of the many potential threats to come, both fictional and way too real. – Aliya Say 

Nottingham Contemporary
Grace Ndiritu, The Temple, 2021, installation featuring works by Anni Albers, Chiara Camoni, Armando D. Cosmos, Charlotte Johannesson, The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, Vivian Lynn, Elisabeth Wild, Andrea Zittel and artefacts from Nottingham City Museums. Courtesy: © Nottingham Contemporary; photograph: Stuart Whipps

Daisy Parris

Sim Smith, London 

15 January – 12 February 2022

Daisy Parris’s paintings come from the gut. The movement, composition and colour of the eight works on display in ‘I See You in Everyone I Love’ – the artist’s second solo show at Sim Smith, London – feels fresh yet familiar. Swathes of fleshy pink meet impassioned tangles of deep blood red in a rich field of painterly downpours and elevations. – Kat Hudson 

Daisy Parris
Daisy Parris, Poem For Death #1, 2021, oil on canvas, 50 × 40 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sim Smith, London

Main image: Femke Herregraven, Wet Spells, 2021, installation view, ‘Our Silver City, 2094’. Courtesy Nottingham Contemporary. Photo: Stuart Whipps.

Contemporary Art and Culture