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Gallery 1957, London Presents “The Mothership Connection” by Zak Ové at Frieze Sculpture

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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.  

Zak Ové, The Mothership Connection, 2021, Mixed Media. Courtesy of the Zak Ové and Gallery 1957  

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.  

Zak Ové, The Mothership Connection, 2021, Mixed Media. Courtesy of the Zak Ové and Gallery 1957 

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. 

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