Our Top Must-See Exhibitions

Jan. 24, 2023

We've picked out some of the most exciting exhibitions on at the moment (or opening shortly!) - matched with some of our Spring Term and Easter Holiday courses.


Dia Al Azzawi: Painting Poetry, Ashmolean Museum, open until 11 June

'A Rose of Black Lace: Amjad Nasser' by Dia al-Azzawi, 1999. Concertina with sculptural case, gouache & ink on paper, wood & plaster © Azzawi 1999, photography Anthony Dawton

Dia al-Azzawi is an internationally recognised Iraqi painter and sculptor who has been living and working in London since the late 1970s. Best known for monumental and colourful canvasses, his work spans many genres, including a type of artist books known in Arabic as 'dafatir'.

A combination of painting and text, dafatir take various forms – accordions, square and oblong booklets, cigar boxes or other sculptural assemblages – but are not meant to be read or viewed in a traditional way. Rather than illustrating the poetry within, which is usually drawn from the pre-Islamic traditions or based on collaborations with contemporary poets, the paintings are free and emotive responses to it.

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Drawing, Collage and Poetry with Rosie Vohra and Poppy Chancellor, 21 Feb - 21 Mar (5 sessions), online, Tuesdays, 10am - 5pm

Drawing: Colour and Memory with Harriet Miller and Stephanie Forrest, 24 Feb - 24 Mar (5 sessions), online, Fridays, 10am - 5pm

Drawing a Story with Mark Cazalet, Perienne Christian & Constanza Dessain, 19 Jan - 23 Mar (10 sessions), Thursdays, 10am - 5pm


David, by Donatello, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence, Italy. Courtesy of the Ministry of Culture. Photo: Bruno Bruchi

Donatello: Sculpting the Renaissance, V&A Museum, opens 11 February

The first major UK exhibition to explore the exceptional talents of the Renaissance master Donatello, arguably the greatest sculptor of all time. Experience a fresh vision of the artist and his influence on subsequent generations.

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Sculpture and Form with Marcus Cornish, 21 Jan - 25 Mar (10 sessions), online, Saturdays, 10am - 5pm

Drawing at the V&A Museum with Nicola Durvasula & Joanna Mulji, 18 Jan - 22 Mar (10 sessions,), out of house, Wednesdays, 10am - 5pm


Alice Neel, The Spanish Family, 1943, oil on canvas, 34 × 28". © The Estate of Alice Neel.

Alice Neel: Hot off the Griddle, Barbican, opens 16 February

The largest exhibition to date in the UK of American artist Alice Neel (1900–1984) whose vivid portraits capture the shifting social and political context of the American twentieth century. Describing herself as ‘a collector of souls’, Neel worked in New York during a period in which figurative painting was deeply unfashionable. Crowned the ‘court painter of the underground,' her canvases celebrate those who were too often marginalised in society: labour leaders, Black and Puerto Rican children, pregnant women, Greenwich Village eccentrics, civil rights activists and queer performers.

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Contemporary Portrait with Clara Drummond and Jessica Jane Charleston, 23 Feb - 23 Mar (5 sessions), online, Thursdays, 6 - 9pm

Portraits and Self Portraits with Sophie Charalambous and Sharon Brindle, 17 Jan - 21 Mar (10 sessions), online, Tuesdays, 6 - 9pm

Easter Holiday | Drawing into Painting: Portraits and Self Portraits with Phoebe Stannard and Rachel Mercer, 17 - 21 April (5 sessions), online, Mon - Fri, 10am - 5pm

See all portrait courses 


Henry Moore, 'Pit Boys at Pithead' 1942 (HMF 1985), pencil, wax crayon, coloured crayon, watercolour, wash, pen and ink. Hepworth Wakefield (Wakefield City Art Gallery).

Henry Moore: Drawing in the Dark, St Albans Museum and Gallery, open until 16 April

Drawing in the Dark is the largest exhibition to date of Moore’s coalmining drawings, completed in 1942 for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee. When Moore was asked to record the coalminers working to power wartime Britain, he chose to visit the mine his father had worked in, Wheldale Colliery in Castleford, where he spent a week drawing from observation. Subsequently, he worked from memory to create the remaining drawings which were all completed within six months.

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Nocturnal Interiors with Daniel Miller and Melissa Scott-Miller, 17 Jan - 21 Mar (10 sessions), out of house, Tuesdays, 6.30 - 9pm

Drawing Space: Interior and Exterior with Geraint Ross Evans & Jeanette Barnes, 21 Feb - 21 Mar (5 sessions), online, Tuesdays, 2 - 5pm


Joseph Mallord William Turner Stormy Sea with Dolphins c.1835–40

JMW Turner with Lamin Fofana: Dark Waters, Tate Liverpool, open until 4 June

Take a fresh look at JMW Turner in new exhibition Dark Waters. For the first time, Turner’s work will be presented within an immersive sound environment created by artist and musician, Lamin Fofana. Although creating work centuries apart, both artists convey the power and politics of the ocean and explore its relationship to capitalism and colonialism. Turner’s paintings focus on the dangers of the waters around the British coast and Fofana’s sound work looks across the Atlantic.

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Re-drawing London: City in Transition with Danny Markey, Christopher Green & Geraint Ross Evans, 17 Jan - 21 Mar (10 sessions), out of house, Tuesdays, 10am - 5pm

Life Drawing: Observation and Imagination with Elizabeth McCarten & Melissa Kime, 22 Feb - 22 Mar (5 sessions), Shoreditch, Wednesdays 10am - 5pm


 Leon Kossoff, Children’s Swimming Pool Autumn Afternoon, 1971. ©Tate

Soutine | Kossoff, Hastings Contemporary, opens 1 April

Soutine | Kossoff pairs two major figures of 20th century painting: one a master of the School of Paris, the other a master of the School of London. The discovery of Soutine’s paintings in the early 1950’s was a significant moment for Kossoff, who was already finding his way towards the kind of direct and expressive use of paint he saw in his predecessor’s work. Soutine | Kossoff is the first ever museum exhibition to explore the artistic relationship between British artist Leon Kossoff (1926-2019) and Belarus-born painter Chaim Soutine (1893-1943).

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Easter Holiday | Life Painting with Andy Pankhurst, 17 - 21 April (5 sessions), Shoreditch, Mon-Fri, 10am - 5pm

Drawing a Head with Marcus Cornish, Ishbel Mysercough and Julie Held, 16 Jan - 20 Mar (10 sessions), Shoreditch, Mondays, 10am - 5pm


Zarina Bhimji, Untitled (A Sketch) 1999 - 2010. Copyright Zarina Bhimji. All rights reserved. DACS/ArtImage 2022

Tiny Traces: African & Asian Children, London’s Foundling Hospital, open until 19 February

Tiny Traces presents a rich history of London life from 1739-1820, a key period in Britain’s colonial past. Follow the stories of more than a dozen children from the African and Asian diasporas through personal items, physical artefacts, works of art and archival documents. Visitors can also explore the circumstances surrounding their admission to the Hospital, including the parents’ lives, the Hospital’s ties to Empire and the wider picture of colonial Britain.

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World Imagery: Drawing from Art, Drawing from Life with Michelle Cioccoloni and Nicola Durvasula, 20 feb - 20 Mar (5 sessions), online, Mondays, 6 - 9pm

Local Landscape: People and Places with Mark Cazalet, Cherry Pickles and Andrea McLean, 19 Jan - 23 Mar (10 sessions), out of house, Thursdays, 10am - 5pm

We're also looking forward to seeing...

Peter Doig, Courtauld Gallery, opens 10 Feb

Art on Paper Since 1960 (The Hamish Parker Collection), British Museum, open until 5 March

After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art, National Gallery, opens 25 March

Berthe Morisot: Shaping Impressionism, Dulwich Picture Gallery, opens 31 March

The Rossettis, Tate Britain, opens 6 April

Eric Ravilious, Towner Gallery, open

...and these galleries are opening...

Manchester Museum, opening 18 Feb

National Portrait Gallery, opening 22 June

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