Zak Ové (b. 1966, London) graduated in 1987 with a BA in Film and Fine Art from the St. Martin’s School of Art, London. Today he works in sculpture, film, painting and photography, often collaging the various elements through his use of found, cast and recovered materials.
Ové seeks to reignite and reinterpret lost culture and mythology using new-world materials whilst at the same time paying tribute to both spiritual and artistic African identity. Constantly finding unpredictable ways to express recognisable, traditional African forms his practice explores African identity, the African diaspora and African history.
Ové also draws inspiration from the Trinidad carnival, a tradition started by French immigrants in the 18th century as an elaborate masquerade ball and later influenced by the transatlantic slave trade. African slaves used masks and developed Calypso music to mock their masters and communicate between themselves and after the emancipation freed slaves took over the streets using song, dance and masquerade as a symbol of freedom and defiance.
He has participated in numerous solo exhibitions including Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Darkness, 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House (Courtyard), London, 2016; Arms Around The Child, No1 Mayfair London, 2014; Speaker, Vigo Gallery, London, 2013-14; Past Future, Fine Art Society, London, 2010; and Black & White Nudes, Carte Blanche Gallery, London, 2008.
In 2014 Ové became the first Caribbean artist to be commissioned by the British Museum, with his pair of seven-metre high Moko Jumbie sculptures exhibited in the Great Court as part of the Celebrating Africa exhibition. They are now permanently installed in their Africa gallery.
He has participated in other museum and institutional shows including Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Darkness, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield, 2017; Twice Is Too Much, The Freies Museum, Berlin, 2010 and Blue Devils, Real Art Ways Museum, Connecticut, 2009. Black and Blue: The Invisible Men and the Masque of Darkness, will travel to City Hall Plaza in San Francisco for a period of three to six months from July 2018.
He is the recipient of the Cinit Award for Best Short Film at the Milan African Film Festival; the Black Film & TV Awards for Best Short Film, Best Short Film Director, and Best New Talent in 2002 and the SoHo Images award for Best Short Film in 2002.
His works are in several collections including British Museum, London, UK; Newark Museum, New Jersey, USA; Pérez Art Museum Miami, Florida, USA; Modern Forms, London, UK; David Roberts Art Foundation, London, UK; Jameel Collection, Saudi Arabia; Facebook Corporate Collection, London, UK; 21 C Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Beth De Woody Collection, New York, USA; Walid Kamhawi Collection, Dubai, UAE; Frédéric de Goldschmidt, Brussels, Belgium; Levett Collection, London, UK and the Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, Ohio, USA.
The artist lives and works in London, United Kingdom, and Trinidad, Trinidad and Tobago.