20 September – 29 October 2023
Gallery 1957, London is proud to present The Mothership Connection by British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové at Frieze Sculpture (20 September – 29 October 2023). On public display for the first time, the sculpture – a nine-metre-tall multicoloured futuristic totem structure – is Ové’s largest work to date.
Taking its title from the celebrated album of the Afrofuturist Funkadelic group Parliament, who provided a Black utopian vision of the future for a young Ové, The Mothership Connection presents a vehicle for Afrofuturist space travel, taking inspiration from African tribal relationships with outer space. It interweaves elements of Totem making, cultural traditions, and architecture, highlighting unrecognized achievements of the African Diaspora to Western contemporary culture. By combining these elements, Ové sparks wider conversations about Black identity, challenges established Western historical narratives and presents an alternative future which celebrates shared histories.
The Mothership Connection references the unseen contributions of slaves who laboured on many significant historical Western buildings, such as Washington’s Capitol building, questioning historical narratives around its construction. It also references African architecture, including the famous Djenné mud mosque of Mali, and African traditions, including the super-sized Mende helmet mask, worn exclusively by women from Sierra Leone to perform healing ceremonies and reinterpreted by Ové as a healer for the suffering of the invisible lost African Diaspora.
Ové, who found critical acclaim for his public sculptural installations Moko Jumbies at the British Museum in London, UK in 2015, and Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness at San Francisco’s City Hall, USA in 2018, comments: “I am thrilled that the public will have the opportunity to experience ‘The Mothership Connection” at Frieze Sculpture. Through this sculpture, I aim to create a space for dialogue and reflection, igniting conversations that inspire a greater understanding of contributions from Black communities to modern history. I am pleased to continue my collaboration with Gallery 1957 in Accra, where I can deepen my interrogations into Black identity as an artist-in-residence.”
Marwan Zakhem, Founder of Gallery 1957, comments: “We are pleased to be working with Zak Ové, a visionary artist whose work resonates deeply with Gallery 1957’s commitment to champion wider conversations on Black identity. Being part of Frieze Sculpture for the first time and expanding our presence to Frieze Seoul are significant milestones for the gallery. They are testament to our dedication to promote art from the African Diaspora on a global scale.”
Following its showcase at Frieze Sculpture, The Mothership Connection will go on show at The Design Museum in London from November 2023 to March 2024. Zak Ové will be an artist-in residence at Gallery 1957, Accra in 2024. Gallery 1957 will also make its fair debut at Frieze Seoul, 6th – 9th September 2023.