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Six Bristol students share their summer arts experiences from around the globe. 

‘The pleasure of returning to Brighton over the summer was aptly epitomised by my evening on the third of August, when I was invited to attend the poetry event Laudanum and Lavender. The event was held in the tucked-away haven that is The Yellow Book, a bar which boasts a literary-themed cocktail menu, a string of taxidermy behind the spirits counter and plays host to the occasional club night. The poet who stood out to me most was Connor Byrne, a finalist in the Roundhouse Poetry Slam 2017. Byrne’s performance is immersive, in particular his spoken word piece ‘On Holy Saturday’, which explores a relationship through the motif of religious imagery. That night was to be the eve of his departure to the Edinburgh Fringe festival.’ – Bryony Chellew

‘In the Prado El Greco looks to heaven whilst Goya looks the other way and sees hell. Byron said we are all half dust, half deity and here his evocation is realised. Opulence and pious testaments are in abundance. Bosch imagines paradise in pink and El Greco undulates his long limbed saints to heaven.

We see deification as our greatest artists saw it.

In the darker wings of the Prado we see dust. Rembrandt draws solemness from grey and black and Goya confronts El Greco’s Jesus with Satan eating his son. In the Prado a revelation of opposites plays out.’ – Euan Dawtrey

‘Imagine a painting of Venice and you’ll probably picture twinkling lights on the canals, masked Venetians dressed in swirling costumes and lavish public ceremonies. No other artist has depicted these scenes with the same accomplishment as Canaletto, who became famous in the 16th century for his intricate paintings of the city. His work is the focus of Canaletto & The Art of Venice at The Queen’s Gallery, London, until 12th November. The exhibition is perhaps let down by the inclusion of other Venetian artists, who are simply less enchanting. Nevertheless, the vast number of Canaletto’s early works, as well as his more famous later pieces, make for a beautiful collection.’ – Hudi Charin

‘I went to Edinburgh this year for the first time as a performer, with relatively low expectations. Everyone told me how tough it was going to be, and it was – but in the most exhilarating way. The energy and creativity that surrounds you in the city is infectiously inspiring. I quickly became aware that our play, ‘Cherry’, was so much more than ‘a university production’, because each night I was telling a story to people who had never heard the words before. And the beauty of a long run (22 shows) is that it gives you the time to learn from your mistakes. The main thing I would pass on from own my Fringe experience is that you just have to go.’ – Lily Carr

‘Protein Studios in Shoreditch seemed a fittingly slick space to present Polly Nor’s exhibition. In ‘It’s Called Art Mum, Look It Up’, Nor expresses her feelings about being a woman in the 21st century and explores the pressures and contradictions with which modern beauty, sexuality and mental health are all fraught. Nor’s work is highly satirical in style, with naked women and demons depicted as communicating and morphing into one another.

Ordinary activities take place in the illustrations in the bedroom and they are unabashedly truthful.

Nor peels off her illustrations’ human skin and hangs these plastic body suits in the centre of the space, to expose the façade surrounding womanhood.’ – Sylvia Cogher

‘Married couple Ardyn and Asnat Halter live in a magical, leafy compound in the north of Israel, in a whitewashed, Goldilocks-esque house transplanted into the dripping and humid heart of the Middle East. Ardyn is a painter and Asnat is a sculptor, and this August they kindly hosted me for the night. Asnat’s studio is a converted chicken-coop in the garden: a treasure trove embraced by heavy vines. Her sculptures are made from clay, plaster and bronze, in abstract shapes which celebrate the beauty of their own curved lines. Many of her works’ names reference nature, with titles like ‘Wind Twist’ and ‘Seed of the World’. Her earth-inspired work enchants with its deceptive simplicity.’ -Avital Carno

What are your thoughts on these students’ summers? Let us know in the comments below or on social media.

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