A Real Show of Talent for the New Year; Baltic Gallery Lines Up a Feast of Contemporary Art

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Byline: By LINDA RICHARDS

FROM Muhammed Ali to graffiti, they will all grace a Tyneside gallery this year.

The series at the Baltic will take folk on a journey from East to West and from the past to the present.

Starting at the end of January, the Gateshead contemporary arts venue introduces two African artists, with exhibitions from Cameroon-born Barthemely Toguo and Egyptian painter and sculpture Mona Mar-souk, who are both working with fine art degree students from the region's universities.

Baltic also welcomes the return of US graffiti artist Barry McGee and UK Turner Prize nominee Mark Titchner.

Both artists have previously taken part in group shows but in 2008 they are showcasing major solo exhibitions at the gallery.

In February, Baltic plays a key role in the annual AV Festival by a re-staging of American avant-garde composer John Cage's Variations VII, giving visitors a rare opportunity to witness a reworked performance of the 1966 concert.

Also in 2008, the gallery joins forces with Channel 4's Picture This competition, offering the winner of this unique digital photography competition a debut exhibition.

A treat in store in April is the Last of the Dictionary Men, a multimedia exhibition based around the lives and history of the Yemeni community based in South Shields. …