If you walk around the back of the Southbank Centre at the moment you’ll see what looks like a huge pile of roughly woven strips filling the space.

It’s a work of art by the Indian artist, Asim Waqif, which we’re told is a mix of modern architecture and his interest in traditional crafts such as basketry and weaving. The installation took ten days, to build up the bamboo poles and woven strips around the metal scaffolding.

Called Venu, it’s supposedly a space for contemplation and peaceful shelter, although in truth its a playground for children and for adults taking photos of their children.

There’s a fixed hanging seat in one corner, and a few just about the right height bamboo poles to sit against, and they’ve also moved some of the concrete benches that usually sit against the wall to nestle in among the woven strips.

I can’t help thinking though that it looks like a giant pile of Paglia e Fieno pasta, which is appropriate as I leaned while checking if I spelt it correctly that it translates as straw and hay pasta.

The bamboo/pasta thingy work of art will be at the Southbank Centre next to the street food market until 22nd October 2023 and is free to wander around.

It sits alongside another work of art – a huge video screen showing a tall pole spewing out a cloud of white moisture in a desert background. Or at least that’s what it looks like – as it’s actually a live computer simulation of what that would look like if it was built in real life.

Called Surrender, it’s a play on the idea of a white flag.

The video, by John Gerrard will be in place until 3rd September 2023 and is also free to view.


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