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Cameron hosts international summit in Whitechapel

17:33 20 January 2011

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02:  British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives to greet French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Lancaster House on November 2, 2010 in London, England. Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy are attending a Franco-British Summit and are likely to agree to a new military expeditionary joint force.  (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 02: British Prime Minister David Cameron arrives to greet French President Nicolas Sarkozy at Lancaster House on November 2, 2010 in London, England. Mr Cameron and Mr Sarkozy are attending a Franco-British Summit and are likely to agree to a new military expeditionary joint force. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

2010 Getty Images

PRIME Minister David Cameron is hosting a summit of Scandinavian and Baltic leaders at the Whitechapel Gallery today.

The event has been organised by Downing Street and, as well as the Prime Minister and eight other heads of state, the summit had attracted 100 journalists and a tight but discreet police presence.

It’s the first gathering of its kind and a Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “It’s a very unusual type of summit.”

The event was designed for leaders to share ideas and to bring people from think tanks and NGOs from home to the meeting.

Themes they were likely to discuss included gender and society and the meeting was intended to be “creative”.

“It’s certainly unusual, “ commented the government spokeswoman. “It’s quite deliberate to have a different type of venue, we’ve used the QE2 and Excel before.”

The Whitechapel Gallery has built a reputation as an innovative arts venue and over its 100 year history has premiered work by world class artists including Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko.

Whitechapel artist and First World War one poet Isaac Rosenberg showed his work there.

It also showed Pablo Picasso’s disturbing Guernica, a large painting about an atrocity of the Spanish Civil War. Working class East Enders piled up their boots beside the painting.

Recently the gallery showed a tapestry copy of the work which was covered up where it was hanging in the United Nations when US Defence Secretary Colin Powell made a case for war against Iraq.

The gallery on Whitechapel High Street also hosted the important 1956 show This Is Tomorrow which showcased pop art and featured the art of Richard Hamilton.

Prince William re-opened the gallery in 2009 after a £13 million expansion programme which saw it take over the former Whitechapel Library next door.

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