Easter Weekend Top 10 Free Art Exhibitions & Events London

Southbank Centre celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. This is going to be a beautiful holiday weekend so why not come to the South bank and see the Art shows

You can also look forward to a series of exhibitions during the Festival of Britain anniversary celebrations, from a variety of well known artists and respected thinkers.

Free Art shows

1) Celebrating 60 years of arts and culture since the original Festival of Britain in 1951, the Festival of Britain anniversary events take over the whole of the Southbank Centre complex with artist led performances, talks, themed weekends, outdoor attractions and much more. The first of three annual summer festivals to be sponsored by MasterCard, the festival also pays homage to the South Bank Exhibition of 1951, which took place on the site of what is now the celebrated Southbank Centre.

2) Good Friday will see the unveiling on Queen’s Walk of an urban beach, complete with 14 artist-designed beach huts, and the return of Jeppe Hein’s ‘Appearing Rooms’ fountain, launching a season of events to mark the sixtieth anniversary of the Festival of Britain, which opened on May 3 1951 and was created to give Britons a feeling of recovery and progress after WWII. Activities take place at venues across the Southbank Centre, celebrating British culture and creativity through performances, talks and exhibitions as well as themed weekends (including a Chorus Weekend, May 13-15, and a Vintage Festival, Jul 29-31). The Centre is divided into four ‘lands’, which take as their inspiration themes from the 1951 South Bank exhibition – People of Britain, Land of Britain, Sea and Ships, Power and Production -and feature work by artists, designers and curators including Andy Holden, Michael Marriott and Colette Bailey. Those who attended the 1951 Festival and have memories, letters, diaries, postcards, photographs or film of the event are invited to participate by contacting the Southbank Centre by post (Festival Memories, Learning and Participation, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX) or email (festivalmemories@southbankcentre.co.uk) with details of what they have.

3) See Susan the giant straw fox is keeping a vigil over Waterloo Bridge outside the hayward Gallery.While the pop-up beach and bunting hail from Southend-on-Sea, the enormous fox was built over 10 days in a Nottingham barn before being cut in half and taken down the M1 “on a wing and a prayer and two big lorries”, according to her creator, Alex Rinsler. Don’t miss The sandy beach by the Thames. Past the gaudy beach huts, on the other side of Hungerford Bridge, lie a helter skelter and an enormous, upturned purple cow.

4) A new roof garden on top the Queen Elizabeth Hall, where daisies and sunflowers bloom and a band plays English Country Garden, visitors come to an al fresco gallery known as Helmand. The garden hasn’t been open to the public in 40 years.

5) Ai Weiwei  Last chance to see his thick blanket of aggregate porcelain sunflower seeds. This is an exceptional installation located in Tate Modern’s Turbine hall

6) Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2011

Ends Sunday  University of Westminster, 35-100 Marylebone Rd, London, United Kingdom NW1 5LS

Telephone 0845 262 1618   Web  http://www.p3exhibitions.com

Paul Graham  British photographer Paul Graham is committed to an unflinching vision of life, whether in a London dole office, downtown Tokyo or suburban America. The Whitechapel Gallery presents the first major UK survey of his photographs taken over 25 years demonstrating the crucial role he has played in the development of photography where documentary and art coalesce.

Whitechapel Gallery 77-82 Whitechapel High St, London, E1 7QX   020 7522 7888

11am-6pm Tue-Sun, until 9pm Thur   http://www.whitechapelgallery.org

– Wellcome Collection   This exhibition explores the history of our complex relationship with dirt and disease. It includes a fascinating selection of 19th and 20th century poster and advertising campaigns as well as vintage video and  film clips  183 Euston Road , London, NW1 2BE Saturday 10.00-18.00 Sunday 11.00-18.00

9) Marcus Coates  Coates’ practice questions the role of the artist in relation to a range of social issue. In The Trip, he develops this central concern through exchanges between himself and individuals nearing the end of their lives. This project explores the subject of death with profound sensitivity and intimacyKensington Gardens , London W2 3XA  Mon-Sun 10-6

Nathaniel Mellors – Ourhouse – ICA   Nathaniel Mellors latest London exhibition at the ICA features film and robotic sculpture, Disturbing! He was born in 1974 in Doncaster, England. He studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford University and the Royal College of Art, London. He currently lives and works in London and Amsterdam12 Carlton House Terrace , London, SW1Y 5AH Saturday 12 noon – 1am

Sunday 12 noon – 9pm

Beyond the weekend

“Experience performances, new outdoor environments, talks and events by some of Britain’s leading artists and thinkers. Festival highlights include Ray Davies curating this year’s Meltdown(June), Tracey Emin’s first major survey show in London at the Hayward Gallery (18 May to 29 August), plus appearances by Lang Lang, Heston Blumenthal, Billy Bragg, John Berger, Meera Syal and Tony Benn. Themed weekends celebrate just some of the highlights of British culture – from Stewart Lee’s curated weekend of comedy and music (27 to 30 May) to Light Fantastic in collaboration with the BBC (24 to 26 June), a hip-hop weekend (22 to 24 July) and Wayne Hemingway’s vintage weekend (29 to 31 July).”