What's on in London this week

If you're heading into London any time soon, there is plenty going on to keep you culturally satiated. The heatwave might just keep the crowds away, too! We've handpicked four events spanning the industries of art, fashion and music that are sure to inspire and delight in equal measure.

African Fashion at the V&A

We absolutely love the V&A's fashion exhibitions. They are always so expertly researched and curated, and the current one is no exception. Africa Fashion contains more than 250 textiles and photographs spanning from the mid-twentieth century to the present day, highlighting the broad yet often underplayed influence African fashion trends have on the global style consciousness. 

The Proms

What would a British summer be without the Proms?! The most famous classical music concert series on the planet is this year celebrating its 150th anniversary with 84 concerts over 57 days with over 3,000 musicians. The event will also mark the return of international orchestras, including Berliner Philharmoniker, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Australian World Orchestra and the newly formed Ukrainian Freedom Orchestra. Whether you have top tickets or just want to prom for the experience, whatever you do don't miss it!

The New Serpentine Pavilion

If there's a symbolic start to the British summer, it's the perennial unveiling of the new Serpentine pavilion and this year it falls on American artist Theaster Gates to delight and challenge us. Perhaps a reflection of the times we are living in, Gates' pavilion is a moody, dark and introspective structure. Named the 'Black Chapel' it is a stark cylindrical building inspired by the Rothko Chapel, a prayer space in Texas, with art by abstract expressionist master Mark Rothko. Gates’s building is both a meditation and a place to meditate, that is, when no one is around, which is highly unlikely. In fact, the pavilion will play host to a series of concerts this summer– including performances by jazz drummer Moses Boyd and the London Oratory Choir. 

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, until Aug 21

Touted as "the world’s most joyful art experience", the Royal Academy has run without interruption since 1769, and showcases art in all forms, from prints, painting, film and photography, to architectural works and sculpture by invited artists, Royal Academicians, and emerging talent. For the last two years, it was actually a winter exhibition thanks to covid-shaped spanners in the works, but this it is back in its rightful season. The theme chosen by the exhibition’s coordinator, Alison Wilding RA, is ‘Climate’. The exhibition features two rooms of prints selected by Grayson Perry RA, a structure made of elephant dung bricks, and new work by the Singh Twins. Outside this year is a large-scale immersive installation bringing nature and water to the courtyard, by Spanish artist Cristina Iglesias.

Most of the works are available to buy, with proceeds directly supporting the exhibiting artists and the RA’s charitable work.