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Must-see exhibitions in 2020

Check out our round-up of must-see exhibitions in 2020.

An untitled image by Ninagawa Mika. One of our must-see exhibitions in 2020
Ninagawa Mika, Untitled, 2018 © Ninagawa Mika. Models: AMIAYA

Happy new year and welcome to our round-up of must-see exhibitions in 2020.

This year’s highlights include Bill Brandt and a celebration of Tokyo.

We hope you enjoy our round-up of the must-see exhibitions in 2020.

Self portrait Oscar Marzaroli
Oscar Marzaroli, Aberdeen, Summer 1960 ® Oscar Marzaroli Collection. Courtesy of Street Level Photoworks

Oscar Marzaroli

Oscar Marzaroli’s photographs and films of Glasgow from the 1950s through to the 1980s captured a period of enormous change.

Through portraits and landscapes, Marzaroli captured Scotland during an exceptional time when city slums were being cleared to make way for new social housing.

His images are said to perfectly encapsulate the atmosphere surrounding these fundamental shifts in society.

While many of Marzaroli’s Glasgow photographs are instantly recognisable, such as The Castlemilk Lads or The Golden Haired Lass, he worked all over Scotland and further afield as a photographer and filmmaker.

This exhibition embraces his extensive range.

Oscar MarzaroliStreet Level Photoworks, until March 15.

A baby sleeps in a hammock.
Tang Tien – bamboo basket weaving village, 2008. From the series Home Work © Tessa Bunney

Otherwise Unseen

For more than 25 years Tessa Bunney has photographed rural life.

She works closely with individuals and communities to investigate how humans shape the landscape.

From hill farmers near her home in North Yorkshire to Icelandic puffin hunters, from Finnish ice swimmers to Romanian nomadic shepherds, her projects reveal the fascinating intricacies of the dependencies between people, work and the land.

Otherwise Unseen brings together four series which explore various rural communities in Europe and in South East Asia, where Tessa was based for five years.

Hand to Mouth explores the lives of villagers and nomadic shepherds in Romania’s Carpathian Mountains.

Home Work explores the lives of female home workers in the suburbs and villages in and around Hanoi, Vietnam in the face of increasing urbanisation.

The Nam Ou is part of The Corridor of Opportunity, a series of inter-connected landscape stories aiming to unravel the complexities of the contemporary landscape in Northern Laos.

FarmerFlorist celebrates the domestic flower growers of Britain, both past and present.

Otherwise Unseen, Side Gallery, January 11 to April 5.

Third Shock II Mk2 by Theo Simpson. Included in our round-up of must-see exhibitions in 2020.
Third Shock II Mk2 © Theo Simpson courtesy of Jerwood/Photoworks 2020

Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020

New photographic commissions by artists Silvia Rosi and Theo Simpson go on show as part of the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards.

Both artists explore the idea of history through their photographic practices, across themes of family, industry, identity and architecture.

Over the past 12 months, supported by expert mentors, including artist Roger Palmer and curator Renée Mussai, they have created new bodies of work.

Rosi’s work explores her personal family history drawing on her Togolaise heritage, and the idea of origins.

Simpson’s practice draws from the evolving environments and elements of the world we live in today. The notion of landscape is expanded through an intersect of theory, fact and myth.

Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020Jerwood Arts, January 15 to March 8.

A portrait surrounded by petals
Nalini in bloom © Arpita Shah


Spanning India, East Africa and the UK, Nalini explores the connected histories of Arpita Shah’s mother, her grandmother and herself.

The exhibition reveals ancestral intimacies across space and time, and how histories, memories and bodies are intertwined.

Nalini is a personal journey for Shah, allowing her to reconnect with the past through her maternal lineage.

She explores how migration, distance and loss have shaped the lives of three generations.

Shah was born in India, grew up in Saudi Arabia and Ireland, and now lives in Scotland.

The exhibition is titled after her grandmother, Nalini – a name coming from the ancient Sanskrit word meaning ‘lotus’.

This iconic plant symbolises purity, femininity and fertility in Hindu culture.

Shah performs floral offerings to her mother and grandmother, and some of her images feature symbolically-significant flowers adorning old photographs from family albums.

NaliniImpressions Gallery, January 17 to March 28.

Bill Brandt/Henry Moore

Photographer Bill Brandt and sculptor Henry Moore first crossed paths during the Second World War as they both created images of civilians sheltering in the London Underground during the Blitz.

Taking these acclaimed ‘shelter pictures’ as a starting point, this major exhibition traces the parallel and intersecting careers of these two important artists of the 20th century.

It brings together more than 200 works including major sculptures, iconic photographs, drawings, little-known photo collages, unprinted negatives and rare original colour transparencies.

The exhibition reveals the interdisciplinary range of these two artists, exploring how they both responded creatively to the British landscape and communities during the turbulent times in which they lived.

Bill Brandt/Henry MooreThe Hepworth Wakefield, February 7 to May 31.

After Empire: Photographing Britain and the World

Through poignant photographs, this exhibition tells the story of modern Britain and its changing place in the world.

It explores documentary photography from the end of the Second World War to the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.

This 35-year period was a time of change for many as Europe’s empires collapsed in Africa and Asia.

It was also a golden age for photography in Britain.

The post-war period marked the apogee of the illustrated press with magazines such as Picture Post and the Sunday Times Magazine, the birth of the first independent agency Magnum in 1947, and the emergence of documentary photographers working with a new artistic freedom.

This exhibition brings together the work of photographers who captured these turbulent times.

After Empire: Photographing Britain and the World, Tate Britain, June 30 to September 27.

Keiichi Tanaami's No More War silk screen print on paper
Keiichi Tanaami, No More War, 1968, © Tanaami Keiichi, courtesy of NANZUKA

Tokyo: Art and Photography

Coinciding with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, this is a celebration of one of the world’s most creative, dynamic and fascinating cities.

It includes works on loan from Japan and new commissions by contemporary artists.

Exquisite arts of the Edo period (1603-1868) include the iconic images of Hokusai and Hiroshige and the photography of Moriyama Daido and Ninagawa Mika.

The exhibition looks at a city which has undergone constant destruction and renewal.

It tells the stories of the people who have made Tokyo so famous with their insatiable appetite for the new and innovative – from the samurai to avant-garde artists of today.

Tokyo: Art and PhotographyAshmolean, July 16 to November 8.