Last Chance to Visit - LIMITA - 3

Life Is More Important Than Art is a summer-long, multidisciplinary programme of exhibitions and events. It explores the intersection of art and everyday life and the role of the contemporary art institution at a time of uncertainty and change.

The title of the season takes inspiration from African-American writer and novelist James Baldwin, who proposed that life is more important than art … and yet that is why art is important. At a time when the cost-of-living crisis is causing severe financial hardship and the after-effects of the pandemic are still being felt, we consider the role of art and the art institution in everyday life. What importance can we attach to art alongside more pressing concerns?

The exhibition, which runs until 3 September, maps dynamic histories of migration and difference, with a focus on London and the East End. Representative of, and animated by, the distinctive and radical history of Whitechapel Gallery, Life Is More Important Than Art points to the critical role that art can play in both reflecting lived experience and opening up new possibilities for thinking, feeling and dreaming.

Want to know more? Hear directly from the artists of Life Is More Important Than Art in this Whitechapel Gallery podcast hosted by the award-winning journalist, Stephen Smith.

Image Credit: Janette Parris, Whitechapel Gallery, 2023, Digital Drawing, Courtesy the artist.
Sarah Dobai The Donkey Field (still) 2021 copy

Life Is More Important Than Art

14 June – 3 September 2023

Twelve artists spanning film, painting, photography and installation, past and present histories are interwoven and personal stories are entangled with global events.

London, United Kingdom - Saturday 29 April 2023, Numbi Arts - DJ Elmi.

Somali Museum UK: Any-Space-Whatever

14 June – 1 October 2023

Combining an art gallery, library, archive, museum, dance and music studio in one space, the Somali Museum radically reimagines what a ‘museum’ is and what it can do.

Sculpting Conversations lead image, Sarah Marsh (1) copy

Sculpting Conversations

14 June – 3 September 2023

Relax and play in a room full of soft, bendy and weighted objects; talking, laughing and sharing stories.


Whitechapel Radio Station (WRS)

14 June – 17 September 2023

Whitechapel Radio Station (WRS) is an intra-gallery radio station broadcasting live and online, hosting a series of talks with artists, collectives, writers and musicians.

R.I.P. Germain - Everything

Artists' Film International

14 June – 17 September 2023

Artists’ Film International is a collaborative project featuring film, video and animation from around the world. Throughout 2023 the consortium of AFI partners has selected moving-image works by artists on the theme of diaspora.

Escape The Slick by Nina Photography-127

Live Events

As part of Life Is More Important than Art, Whitechapel Gallery is activated throughout the summer by an exciting range of discursive and performative live events.