The Blog

Late at the Tate Marries Art and Hiphop for the Perfect Experience

Late at Tate is a programme of events for young and diverse audiences held at Tate Britain on a bi-monthly basis featuring music, film, fashion and live performance.


Graffiti legend Mode 2 live painting inside Tate Britain's Clore Studio for #LateAtTate #SpacesBetween

There's been a real push into diversifying every area of our London Lives this year, from conferences and seminars on the subject, within industries as far and wide as the police force, the music industry, television and beyond.

Late at the Tate is a bi-monthly event with an aim of diversifying its clientele, and I love it as it gives me a chance to explore art after hours, in a very relaxed way. It's another free-for-all evening, where organisers bring together the worlds of visual art and spoken art, for a huge number of young hip hop fans.

Late at Tate is a programme of events for young and diverse audiences held at Tate Britain on a bi-monthly basis featuring music, film, fashion and live performance.

Brit graffiti artist Mode 2 and beatbox champion Reeps One doing his thing at Late At The Tate.

Last time it was one single event in the Turner Room, which was so full and crowded that people had to experience it from outside, so this time around they had numerous stunts all across the art gallery at different times.

Outside the front entrance were hip-hop ciphers where Hip-hop connoisseur DJ Snuff was seen and heard to be throwing down some stark beats for the various MC'S- both male and female- who were reciting some really authentic eighties sounding verses.

Live music in this garden also saw an eclectic mix of artists like emerging Jazz outfit Parshmaune and international Hip-hop collective End Of The Weak who have teamed up with London-based MC cypher event Higher Learning to showcase a selection of high quality wordsmiths.

Inside the white imposing building, both visual artists and spoken word talent were doing their thing in various rooms around the gallery. The great thing was nothing really clashed and you were able to calmly wonder from one moment to the next.

The night was called Spaces Between - a celebration of youth culture through word and sound, and featured some of the UK's leading and emerging storytellers and musicians, inspired by the artwork in the Tate Collection.

Spaces Between explored the individual voice and its transformation and influence on youth culture using various spaces throughout Tate Britain to show how it exists between social structures and cultural boundaries.

Other highlights on the evening included a spoken word showcase within the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries inspired by this year's Tate Britain Commission sculptor Phyllida Barlow; a workshop with UK beatbox champion Reeps One in the Manton foyer; an acoustic performance by hotly-tipped rapper Little Simz against a backdrop of stunning portraits from the Tate Collection and live painting by leading British graffiti artist Mode 2 in the Clore Studio.

Artist Benjamin Wachenje poses with his portrait of Jonzi D.

A huge piece of artwork from artist Benjamin Wachenje, was unveiled and the crowd were delighted to see that it was a portrait Hip-hop choreographer and cultural icon Jonzi D.

Benjamin said he'd admired Jonzi for two decades and he respected the fact that Jonzi rapped in a British accent not an American one. They proceeded to discuss arts and the community for an enraptured crowd that had gathered to hear them speak and were delighted that Jonzi was delighted that he was ''Hung at the Tate''. Benjamin said ''I wanted to get to know all these rappers in the UK so I thought what better way to get close to them - it would be a great idea to paint them, of all the rappers portraits I've painted the two people I've painted most often are Jonzi D and Ty. Recently Jonzi D rejected his MBE but I think the best way I have been able to recognise him is by painting him and this now being hung at The Tate''.

Late at Tate programmer Adrian Shaw told us: "These events are now led by the Young People's Programme with the aim of giving young people a genuine voice in the gallery. So it's really great to be working with Louder Than Words with their commitment and in-depth experience of working within the youth cultural sector."

Very special acoustic performance from @littlesimz inside #ForgottenFaces at #LateAtTate Britain #SpacesBetween #LouderThanWords @tategallery

One of the highlights for me was of relatively new act Little Simz, who started making her music when she was nine years old, inspired by fellow female MC Missy Elliott and Busta Rhymes. Clearly also influenced by acts like Lauryn Hill and Jill Scott, Lil Simz performed a live acoustic performance, against the backdrop of stunning portraits from the Tate Collection to a very enthusiastic crowd.

The next one, should you wish to please your eyes and ears simultaneously is on Friday 3 October 2014, 18.00 - 22.00.

Bring no airs and graces, just an open mind to explore new things and meet new like-minded people with a passion for creative arts and a zealous joy for life.