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About ZAK OVE 

OTHER WRITING

A land so far: Zak Ove

 “Ove’s ontological struggles for image-making comes from things remembered and messages that are generational and genetical. The familial swagger of Trinidadian roots, the memories of generations of effort to keep the language and experience preciously intact. The creative outbursts of  “ carnival is an out of body experience” so succinctly addressed by the musicologist Attillah Springer, she continues:

 

“We have no weapons but our art.  Our civil war is a war of civilisation and it is fought on the skin of the drum, in every defiant foot stamping dance, in every piece of performance art that becomes the carnival masquerade.

 

All we have is this carnival, this masking and un-masking until there is no difference between you and thing you play. It becomes you, your spirit self, your avatar.

 

All is performance.  All is confrontation. All is a desire to be seen and recognised as yourself.

 

You become your own Eshu, trickster deity who stands at the crossroads.  Eshu who metes out justice, who takes the offerings of humans to the gods.  Eshu who in the syncretism of African and Christian beliefs becomes the Devil. At Jouvay the Devil must be paid.”

 

The splitscreen film by Ove A land so far, ends in an ominous explosion in the sky, as if the devil has been paid. The film constantly merges into a rorschach human form, sometimes the dancers having three eyes and three legs, a moment of heightened surrealism in the darkened enclosure of the carnival. The incessant beat, the crashing of bodies  to what can only be described as ‘zombie blues’

 

Part threatening, part ritual, part forbidding and somehow always alluring and welcoming, the film traces the trail of the carnival in its spiritual phantom best- these surely are the best dressed chicken in town as Dr Alimantado would have said- but it is in its ability to carry the viewer to the actual experience that this film makes its biggest contribution in our understanding of something so fast, so hard, so far and so distant.”

 

Shaheen Merali, curator

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Zak Ove © 2016