Cut Festival – The Art of Barbering
24th February – 5th March
Box office: http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/events/3991
This weekend sees the inauguration of a very special festival, which partners international and UK artists with East London barbershops and activists. Together, they will present artworks, performances and give free haircuts to both their audiences, local passers-by and homeless communities of the region.
But why, you may ask yourself, is there so much fuss about this? Is it a festival about barbering or about art?
Well, barbering is a centuries old practice that has united communities, healed ill bodies and helped us to find a way to illustrate our own identities. From the black barbershops of nineteenth century North America, to the physicality of Turkish barbers, the healing rituals in India and the rise of the ‘metrosexual’; for centuries the barbershop has been a stronghold of various communities across the world.
Walk any day across East London and you have a variety of barbershops from a breath of communities and generations: Turkish, English, Bangladeshi, Black-British, Jamaican, Indian, amongst many others. The vibe inside these barbershops is always vibrant, welcoming and ready to communicate with their clients.
Through newly commissioned work and a curated programme, the festival will bring together established and emerging artists, barbers and activists who creatively and critically use the history, politics and craft of barbering to explore themes of race, gender, ritual, community and social healing in their respective practices.
Historically a place exclusively for men, the barbershop has developed in recent years into a more inclusive space. Shops like Open Barber and Barberette in East London, and Shambarber in Bristol now actively promote their shops as safe and open spaces that welcome those who identify as queer, trans or female and the festival seeks to address key issues surrounding gender and image construction within the field of barbering in the twenty-first century.
We have artists coming from all parts of the world to work with us and barbers from New York and East London taking part in the festival. From previews of Inua Ellams’ new National Theatre play, to durational performances in East London barbershops, and haircutting experiences overlooking The City, we have plenty to entertain and provoke you this weekend and beyond.
Throughout the festival, and working with the local charity Crisis, New York-based barber Mark Bustos will be walking around East London giving free haircuts to the local homeless communities. Whilst this is not an artwork, we want to incentivise local philanthropy with our festival beyond the various art and barbering buildings.
Most of it is free, and the ticketed day is only £6/8 so all very accessible and affordable.
Curated by jamie lewis hadley and produced by Xavier de Sousa for Blank Billboard CIC, Cut Festival was developed in collaboration with Artsadmin, Tower Hamlets Council, Live Art Development Agency, Total Barber, Rocket Barbershop. Funded by Arts Council England, Jerwood Charitable Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund.
Check out the full programme here and a breakdown below:
THE ART OF BARBERING EXHIBITION
A group exhibition of photography, GIFS, video, drawing, publications and documentation focusing on how artists use barbering to explore and expose themes of gender, ritual, community, race and social healing.
Artists and Barbers include Brandon Tauszik and Mark Bustos (USA), Hick Duarte (Brazil), Cary Kwok (Hong Kong), Oreet Ashery, Nomad Barber, Amy Pennington, Paula Harrowing and jamie lewis hadley (UK)
Open: 25th February – 5th March, 12pm-6pm
Venue: The Archive Gallery, The Rose Lipman Building, 43 De Beauvoir Rd, N1 5SQ
Nearest Station: Haggerston (3mins walk, Overground)
CUT TO THE CHASE
Seminal artists and barbers including Oreet Ashery, Mark Bustos, Joshua Coombes, Open Barbers and Brandon Tauszik engage in conversations about identity, gender and race through the medium of barbershops and art. Throughout the day, you will be able to witness a preview of Inua Ellam’s new play The Barbershop Chronicles, (in partnership with FUEL, The National Theatre and West Yorkshire Playhouse) and explore the history of the Queer communities of East London by Emma Frankland while having your hair cut by Open Barber with the East London skyline as your landscape.
Date: 25th February, from 1pm – 8pm
Full Schedule and Tickets: http://www.artsadmin.co.uk/events/3991
Venue: Toynbee Studios, 28 Commercial Street, Whitchapel, E1 6AB
Nearest Station: Aldgate East (1min walk, Underground)
BARBERSHOP TAKEOVER DAY
Cut Festival will also take to East London barbershops with a dedicated day of performances specifically curated and commissioned for the festival, including live artists Katy Baird, Hester Chillingworth and jamie lewis hadley, as well as grime artist Conrad Kira. All performances are free to attend and accessible, although please be aware that there will be a lot of standing outside of barbershops on the day. We will have a limited amount of seats on site to support anyone who might need those as well as festival support staff to assist.
Date: 26th February, from 1pm – 7pm
Full schedule: http://www.cutfestival.com
Venues: various Barbershops across East London – please check schedule