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Arts ahead: January 12

The Star critics cherry-pick the best on offer in the weeks to come

Mahtab Hussain: You Get Me?
Impressions Gallery
Centenary Square
January 12–March 24

“THESE young men face unemployment, discrimination and racism. Yet they identify with Britain and have a strong sense of Britishness. I didn’t want to make portraits that made you feel sorry for these young men. I wanted to show that, despite the pressures, they have still found a way to hold themselves up as proud and dignified people, albeit with complex and often conflicting identities,” says Mahtab Hussain of these hugely impressive portraits that he took over a nine-year period in Birmingham. Well worth seeking out and entry's free.

We Stared at the Moon from the Centre of the Sun
Towner Gallery
Downshire Park
January 20-April 30

This free exhibition curated by Haroon Mirza brings together modern and contemporary painting, sculpture, installation and film and video works to explore how our experience of the present is influenced by the juxtaposition between the archaic, or the obsolete, and an imagined future and the exhibition's title references the recurrence of solar and lunar symbolism in our attempts to do this. As well as from Mirza himself, on show there'll be works by George Barber, Patrick Caulfield, Tacita Dean, Peter Fend, Anthony Hill, James Hugonin, Ian Kiaer, Mark Leckey, Jonathan Monk, Seamus Nicolson, Lis Rhodes, Peter Sedgley, William Tucker, Andrew Williams, Richard Wilson and Rose Wylie.

Dick Gaughan benefit
Old Fruitmarket
January 30

An unabashed man of the left — he promotes the Morning Star on his excellent website — Dick Gaughan (pictured) is the only performer to have gained a BBC Radio 2 folk music lifetime achievement award and induction into the Scots Music Hall of Fame. Though immersed in the musical traditions and culture of the Gaels, Gaughan has taken a challenging and dissenting stance in his music to issues of war, peace and class struggle and he's been at the cutting edge of Scottish music as a guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer since 1970. Currently, he's suffering from ill health and this benefit, part of Celtic Connections, promises "a stellar cast of friends and admirers" who'll perform in his honour. Unmissable.

William Blake in Sussex
Petworth House
West Sussex
January 13-March 25

This exhibition sees original works by William Blake, inspired by the Sussex coast and countryside, reunited for the first time. Featuring more than 50 works, it celebrates Blake’s three years living in the county between 1800 and 1803, the only area outside London where Blake ever lived. It is here, surrounded by the Sussex coast and countryside that would continue to inspire his work, that Blake saw the Visions of Albion. Sounds like a pricey treat — it's an eye-watering £16 entrance if you're not a National Trust member.


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