The British Council releases its artistic programme for 2004

The international line-up includes projects in Libya, Iran, Israel and the Palestinian Territories


The British Council has announced this year’s artistic programme, under the theme of “constructive engagement”. The council, which is primarily funded by the Foreign Office, is to receive £179 million in the current financial year for all its projects.

The Art Newspaper here selects some of the most important projects in the visual arts:

o Israel Catherine Yass is making a film from a helicopter that crosses the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip.

o Palestinian Territories The British Council is supporting the first Ramallah Film Festival (14-19 April), in collaboration with the Palestinian ministry of culture.

o Iraq Hana al Mallah from Iraq has made paintings based on last year’s looting of the Baghdad Museum. These will be shown in London, at the Aya Gallery (August-September).

o Iran “20th-century British sculpture” is at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (24 February-16 April). The show coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Republic, following the overthrow of the Shah, and it will open four days after parliamentary elections. For the event, the entire museum is being given over to the sculptures. Damien Hirst will be represented by, among other works, “Resurrection”, a human skeleton in a crucified pose, encased in glass. Other recent works include a video by Mona Hatoum (“Deep throat”), a carpet of 15,000 fresh red roses by Anya Gallacio and a four-screen video by Iranian-born Shirazeh Houshiary (“Breath”). Artists travelling to Tehran include Richard Deacon, Bill Woodrow and Sir Anthony Caro and lectures will be given by Tim Barlow (broadcaster), Stephen Deuchar (Tate Britain) and Fereshteh Daftari (MoMA, New York).

o Saudi Arabia “Common ground: aspects of contemporary British Muslim experience” is an exhibition of the work of eight photographers. It will be shown in Riyadh (May), and then Oman and Abu Dhabi.

o Armenia “As is when”, a show on British print-making of the 1960s, is at the National Gallery in Yerevan (February) and then tours to Almaty in Khazakhastan (April).

o Turkmenistan Henry Moore graphics will be at the National Gallery in Ashkhabad (April-May).

o Greece Three exhibitions are being held to celebrate the Olympic Games. “Britannia works” is at the Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Centre and the Renos Xippas Gallery in Athens (3 April-29 May), presenting the younger generation of British artists. “Six European masters: redefining the body” will be at the National Gallery in Athens (15 May-31 September). It will have 20 works each by Maillol, Giacometti, Moore, Rodin, Bourdelle and Brancusi. “Henry Moore” is to be held at the Goudi Museum Park (15 June-31 October), a former army barracks that are being converted into an art museum, not far from the Olympic village.

o Denmark A major show on Leon Kossoff will be at the Louisiana Gallery, outside Copenhagen (opens November). It then travels to the Kunstmuseum, Lucerne.

o Estonia A Bridget Riley print retrospective opens in Estonia and then tours to Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Ukraine and the Czech Republic.

o Italy The architecture Biennale takes place in Venice (5 September-7 November). The British pavilion is being curated by Peter Cook of Archigram, and will present nine practices: Ian Ritchie, Kathryn Findlay, Future Systems, Ron Arad, Caruso St John, C.J. Lim, Richard Murphey, John Pawson and Cook himself.

o Brazil Rachel Whiteread has a solo show at the Museu de Art Moderna in São Paulo (18 March-3 May).

The dates of some exhibitions are subject to confirmation.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Britain reaches out to the world'