Zak Ové at Frieze Sculpture 2023

Gallery 1957, London is proud to present The Mothership Connection by British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové (b.1966, London. Lives and works in Las Palmas, Canary Islands) at Frieze Sculpture 2023, curated by Fatoş Üstek. On public display for the first time, the sculpture – a nine-metre-tall multicoloured futuristic totem structure – is Ové’s largest work to date.
The Mothership Connection interweaves elements of Totem making, Afrofuturism, cultural traditions, and architecture, highlighting unrecognised achievements of the African Diaspora to Western modern culture. By combining these elements, Ové aims to spark wider conversations about black identity, challenge established Western historical narratives and present an alternative future which celebrates our shared history.
Taking inspiration from the history of architecture, 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 well-known African architecture, such as the base of the sculpture which resembles the famous Djenné mud mosque of Mali. In addition, the Totem references the future– a common theme in Ové’s work. Akin to a space rocket, it presents a vehicle for Afrofuturist space travel, taking inspiration from African tribal relationships with outer space.
References to African traditions include the super-sized Mende helmet mask seen at the top of the work, worn exclusively by women from Sierra Leone to perform healing ceremonies and reinterpreted by Ové as a healer of pain and suffering of the invisible lost African Diaspora.
The Mothership Connection’s title was borrowed from the album of the Afrofuturist Funkadelic group Parliament, who provided a black utopian vision of the future for Ové growing up, which the artist proudly references today.
Frieze Sculpture 2023 is on view in the Regent's Park's English Gardens until 29th October 2023.
21 Sep 2023