East London sees an unprecedented festival celebrating art, culture and philanthropy inspired by barbershops. At venues including Toynbee Studios, Archive Gallery and selected barbershops across East London the inaugural CUT Festival runs from February 24 to March 5, 2017, exploring the art of barbering via a festival exhibition, performances, events and international guests.

Barbering dates back centuries, the barbershop uniting communities as well as historically healing the sick and distinguishing identities. Inspired by barbering past and present, CUT Festival 2017 brings together international artists and activists, exhibiting and working alongside barbers both traditional and otherwise.

Contributors include photographer Hick Duarte from Brazil. Duarte’s images of freshly barbered young men have prompted an abundance of editorial and advertising commissions while Brandon Tauszik from the USA exhibits his celebrated GIF studies of Oakland’s African-American barbers, complete with artist talk. Also from America, barber Mark Bustos brings high end grooming with philanthropy to London’s streets, working directly with those affected by homelessness. London artists Cary Kwok, Oreet Ashery and Paula Harrowing add their acclaimed drawings, film and photographs to the festival exhibition. Paula will also photograph barbershops creating a free CUT Festival publication with curator jamie lewis hadley.

CUT Festival will also commission artists from the UK to be exhibited in barbershops across East London through the Next in Line section of the programme. Funded by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Blank Billboard CIC, this initiative promotes direct collaboration between artists and barbershops, allowing interaction with local passers-by and East London communities.

Events of note:

  • CUT Festival – The Art Of Barbering is at the Archive Gallery, Toynbee Studios and East London barbershops February 24 – March 5.
  • The first of its kind and curated by live artist jamie Lewis hadley, the programme includes international barbers, artists and activists.
  • 12 diverse barbershops will be photographed by Paula Harrowing for the free festival newspaper. The barbers chosen will include African-Caribbean barbers.
  • GIF portraits of African American barbers taken by artist and film maker Brandon Tauszik in Oakland, California will be exhibited at the Archive Gallery throughout the festival.  These have generated a lot of attention and offer a unique glimpse into this environment.  Brandon will be here for an artist talk on Saturday February 25th which is exciting.
  • Inua Ellams new play Barber Shop Chronicles is previewed in the form of a sneak peak on Saturday Feb 25.  The play is at the National Theatre and on tour this summer, CUT Festival has the cast reading an excerpt.
  • Hick Duarte from Brazil is exhibiting his portraits of freshly barbered youths from the favelas throughout CUT Festival at the Archive Gallery
  • Conrad Kira will present his new track, a CUT Festival commission on Sunday 26th of February in an East London barbershop, details enclosed

The Cut Festival runs from February 24 to March 5, 2017 to see the full schedule go to the Cut Festival website.