“Black power on one side and… social feminism on the other side.”
Central to Zac Ové’s work is the notion of belonging and what this means to him in a multicultural world. Of Irish and Trinidadian descent, raised in London, Ové’s visits to Trinidad were a revelation, awakening his interest in the Trinidadian carnival – a mode of resistance and a way of memorializing a lost African culture and mythology for a diasporic people. Ové takes this one step further – bringing aesthetic and conceptual African/Caribbean elements into his UK – practice, incorporating materials and found objects available to him.
Ové delves into post-colonialism in Britain and Trinidad, the African Diaspora, contemporary multiculturalism, globalization, and the blend of politics, tradition, race, and history that informs our identities. Influenced by the pioneering films of his father, Horace Ové, Zak Ové began his artistic career with a series of exuberant photographs of the participants in Trinidad’s vibrant, multivalent Carnival. He later made forays into sculpture, which he approaches as a form of narrative. Through his sculptural figures, concocted from a dynamic assortment of materials, and resembling African and Trinidadian statuary, Ové plays with notions of identity, positing the self as complex, open, and interconnected.
Ove’s doily paintings are made from vintage European lace doilies as well as custom ones that have been made by Syrian refugees. The paintings, with their vibrant circular layers and patterns evoke the spirit and energy of the Trinidadian carnival whilst using a medium that is personally nostalgic – these items filled the homes of Trinidadian communities when the artist was growing up. To date he has only made three “round” shapes one of which is in the collection of 21C Museum Hotels in the US.