Zak Ové, Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, Digital proposal, 2016, Courtesy the artist and Vigo Gallery
Zak Ové, Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, Digital proposal, 2016, Courtesy the artist and Vigo Gallery 

Black and Blue: The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness
Zak Ové & Vigo Gallery

Interested in reinterpreting lost culture and mythology through the reimagining of found materials, Zak Ové pays tribute to African and Trinidadian identities which have been given new meanings through the cross cultural dispersion of ideas. For 1:54, Ové has created a courtyard installation that positions a time travelling army of masked Invisible men within the grand surroundings and historical heritage of Somerset House. The installation comments on the relationship between power, beauty, identity and skin colour — a dynamic epitomized by the Masque of Blackness enacted by Anne of Denmark and her court ladies in 1605 to the disdain of James I.

Inspired by Ralph Ellison’s classic, Ové’s Invisible men, a motif used in several of his classic works including the Moko Jumbies at the British Museum, are surrounded and engulfed within the fountains of the courtyard reclaiming ground for diasporic beauty. Rescaled from an ebony wood sculpture given to Ové by his father in the early 1970s into a totemic clay figure and then cast in resin and jesmonite, these figures re-enter the contemporary space as manifestations of a diasporic scope of infinite variation.

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