Extraordinary Artists


Taking inspiration from cultural innovators across the arts as well as from forthcoming exhibitions in London, this series explores unexpected connections. Each session will be co-lectured with multi award-winning /nominated vocalist, lyricist and producer, Georgia Mancio.


1. (September 17th) Folk Agitators

‘The Mother of Latin American Folk’ singer, songwriter, guitarist, and artist Violetta Parra (Chile, 1917-67) criticised the church, military, wealthy landowners and government whom she held responsible for the disenfranchised poor of Latin America. Aside from her music, she worked in embroidery, paint and sculpture, and papier-mâché and inspired Chilean-American artist Cecilia Vicuña (b.1948).


2. (September 24th) Gender Benders

C18th French soldier, diplomat and spy, Chevalier d'Eon whose portrait belongs to the National Portrait Gallery, lived as both a man and a woman. Explore a legacy of gender fluidity in culture, including rock and roll pianist and singer, Little Richard (USA, 1932-2020) - a gender-bending pioneer who signed a record deal at 15 and paved the way for Prince, Bowie etc.


3. (October 1st) Men Behaving Badly

Frans Hals (Dutch, 1582/3-1666) subject of a forthcoming major exhibition at the Wallace Collection 22 September 2021 – 30 January 2022, revolutionised the male portrait with his bucolic character studies and innovative techniques. Jelly Roll Morton (U.S. French Creole, 1890-1941), jazz pianist, composer, vocalist, hustler and pimp was a brash, flamboyant, immodest, controversial character but a brilliant talent and innovator of many jazz tropes.


4. (October 8th) Global Villagers

Josephine Baker (France/US, 1906-1975) was a singer, dancer, producer, French spy in WW2 and Civil Rights Activist who adopted 11 children from different nationalities. Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) was an artistic polymath. Subject of a forthcoming Barbican gallery exhibition (30 Sep 2021—Sun 9 Jan 2022), Noguchi may have shared a famous artist lover with Baker…


5. (October 15th) Science Queens

Conceptual artist Anicka Yi (South Korea, b.1971) explores the links between art and science - her next big project will be in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall from October 12th 2021. Before her, actor, inventor, film star, and producer Hedy Lamarr (Austria, 1914-2000) co-invented an early version of frequency originally intended for torpedo guidance and helped Howard Hughes improve aerodynamics.


6. (October 22nd) Cinematic Eyes

Mary Pickford (British/Canadian, 1892-1979), silent movie heroine, producer, ‘Girl Next Door’, one half of a celebrity couple, was the first woman to earn $1million in Hollywood, co-founding United Artists to give artists more control and agency. In 1956 Belgian artist René Magritte (1898–1967) was inspired by the world of cinema to make unscripted home movies and create some of his most famous images.



Extraordinary Artists

  • 10. a.m. - 10.45 online on these Fridays

    1. September 17th

    2. September 24th

    3. October 1st

    4. October 8th

    5. October 15th

    6. October 22nd


  • A computer/laptop/tablet with free Zoom (we will send details) with a camera and microphone but please note you don't have to be on camera during the discussions if you don't want to be.

    Don't forget to give us your email address!