My Favourites For 2017: Travel, Street Art, Films, Exhibitions, Books

I’m an avid list-making person, from daily to-do lists to my weekly meal plan to lists with all the films I’ve watched over a year to exhibitions or concerts I’ve been to or the books I’ve read. So, of course it makes sense to finish off the year with my List of Favourite Films, Trips, Art and Books for 2017!


Besides the regular trips back to the Netherlands, I’ve been exploring the English landscape a bit more over the last year. I absolutely fell in love with Manchester: this city has so much energy and the people are super friendly. There’s a lot of stunning architecture, great arts scene and the city’s important role in the Industrial Revolution is ever-present. The nearby Peak District is truly captivating and holds such beautiful sights. As a girl who comes from a flat country, its massive hills are very impressive!

Memorable overseas trips include my 6-week artist residency on Captiva Island, Florida and a short trip to Parma, Italy. Located just over an hour away from Milan, Parma is a picturesque city which has many beautiful historical sights but far less tourists than many other big Italian cities. The numerous interesting surrounding cities and towns, make it an ideal destination for a little Italian road trip. If you’re a foodie, this region is a must!

Finally, I was very happy to swap the English cold weather for a few days last November when I returned to Seville, Spain. Although it was about my 10th trip to this fantastic city, I still managed to see, do and discover new things there, and I can’t wait to go back again!

Clockwise, starting from the top right: Manchester, Parma, Peak District, Seville, Captiva.

Street Art

To be honest, this is quite an impossible list as I feel I’ve hardly been outside this last year! (I’ve been mostly sitting at home working :-)) However, I did want to share a small selection of my street art photos from 2017 with you.
Of course, the first artist on this list must be Banksy. His tribute to Jean-Michel Basquait near the Barbican Centre caused quite a stir and attracted hundreds of people. Other great murals that appeared on the London walls include works by Alex Senna, SER and Gnasher. The little tileworks by Kai always make me curious and manage to provoke some deeper emotion within me. Finally, the Street Fan exhibition at the Fan Museum showcased unique artworks by 29 street artists in collaboration with a Paris-based master fan maker. You can see more photos and read my blog post about it here.

Top: Banksy, Alex Senna, SER | Bottom: Dale Grimshaw, Gnasher, Kai

TV & Film

As 2017 was quite an intense year workwise, my evenings consisted mostly of collapsing on the sofa and watch films. I also did my fair share of bingewatching complete TV series! It’s difficult to list only a few titles here, but I think these are true gems that need to be watched! Some of the films came out late 2016, but I watched them in 2017. (Just in case someone decides to be difficult about dates…)

Julieta (Directed by Pedro Almodóvar)
A Ghost Story(Directed by David Lowery)
Nocturnal Animals (Directed by Tom Ford)
Manchester by the Sea (Directed by Kenneth Lonergan)
Walking Out (Directed by Alex Smith & Andrew J. Smith) Alex was one of my fellow residents in Captiva!
The Sinner (mini Netflix series created by Derek Simonds)


Everybody who knows me in real life, already knows I’m just a big nerd. And this nerd has a great weakness for old world maps. So you can imagine my excitement about the special exhibition The World according to Blaue in Amsterdam (till 30 September 2018) which displays the 1648 world map by Dutch master cartographer Joan Blaue. This map of over 2 x 3 metres in size is full of curious details which you can see through magnifying glasses.
In the photo below you can see ‘Nova Hollandia’, the name for Australia back then. It was the first time the coastline of Australia was displayed on a map after being discovered by Dutch seafarer Willem Jansz in 1606.


Also in Amsterdam, I visited the inspiring black and white photo exhibition of Hungrian photographer André Kertész at FOAM (on till 10 January 2018).
Having just admitted to be a nerd, it may not surprise you that I’ve visited the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition in the British Library. This blockbuster show attracts many overseas visitors and is defnitely worth a visit. However, I almost fainted when I realised the first book was published in 1997 already 🙂
Basquiat: Boom for Real at the Barbican Centre must have been one of the most anticipated London art shows of 2017. You can visit it until 28 January 2018 or see my photos and review on it here.


Besides old world maps, I’m also fascinated by old Russian artworks and the artist response to the Russian Revolution. For this reason I must obviously add the Red Star over Russia exhibition at Tate Modern (on till 18 February 2018) to this list!


As I spent most of my time editing books this year (and a lot of them!), it was difficult to read in my free time. Therefore, I mostly read short and light books, such as the first two here on my list. The third one, however, was quite an intense book narrating the events of the Spanish Civil War through the story of a flamenco dancer from Granada.

The Extraordinary Life of Frank Derrick, Age 81 – J.B. Morrison
If you tell me to come, I’ll drop everything, just tell me to come – Albert Espinoza
The Return – Victoria Hislop

I hope this post has inspired you to go see some of these exibitions or watch some of my film recommendations! If you have some tips to share with me, please leave me a comment. Happy New Year and have an awesome 2018! 

Zarina x

7 thoughts on “My Favourites For 2017: Travel, Street Art, Films, Exhibitions, Books

  1. Sounds like an enjoyable and inspiring year-if you like dramatic mountain scenery,please consider coming to North West Wales some day, to visit our beautiful area around Harlech and Snowdonia!
    You will receive a warm welcome.x

  2. Great list! I enjoyed your blogposts very much and hope to see more of them the coming year!
    I do not have such an extensive list but I càn say that for the first time in many, many years I do have one! It was a very tough, roller coaster year, with great losses of people in my life but also great achievements mostly in the sense of going out again and experiencing so many things (again).
    Wishing you and Robin all the best and we will see each other in 2018!
    Thank you so much for being you and being here, now!

    1. Thank you so much for your support dear Esther! Wishing you all the best for 2018 filled with love, happy memories and good health! See you next year hopefully! 🙂 xx

  3. A nice list. I think I’ll check out one of those books on your list – sounds like an intriguing read. Are you a book editor? Glad you enjoyed parts of the UK. If you liked Manchester, you’ll love my hometown Newcastle – not biased 😂😊

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