Zak Ové at Somerset House

Thursday I was fortunate enough to catch a talk at Somerset House with (among others) the artist Zak Ové and friends. Rarely have I heard a panel talk so passionately and lucidly about art and I only wish that I’d remembered to take my notebook so that I would have something on which to base this blog! Oh well … I hope I’ll get the chance to hear him again. In the meantime you can see his work (for the rest of today at least as it’s disappearing tomorrow) at Somerset House.

Black and Blue. The Invisible Man and The Masque of Blackness  is a site specific installation that Ové had made to fill the courtyard. It consists of forty identical black figures whose style is inspired by African art. Ové, who is from a Trinidadian background, said that he was partly concerned to challenge the absence of reference to the black experience of Empire in the history of Somerset House which once was home to the Navy Office, where men such as Cook and Nelson would once have come to collect their pay. And now, if briefly, we have a troop of totemic black men overlaying their footsteps and standing proudly at the heart of the present-day multi-cultural London. I only wish all public art were as good.

And if you do go (and you have coin in pocket) I’d recommend popping into Spring or Pennethorne’s for eats. If you want to see more of Ové’s works go to the Vigo Gallery website where they also have a preview of his upcoming shows.

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