British Museum bolsters its collection with first Caribbean art commission


Zak Ové’s sculptures will be unveiled in the Great Court this week, before going on display in the African galleries, Anny Shaw reports for The Art Newspaper.

Works by the Trinidadian artist Zak Ové on show in the British Museum’s Great Court will enter the institution’s collection later this year. Ové’s Moko Jumbie sculptures are on display at the London museum as part of the Celebrating Africa season (28 July-13 September), and are due to be installed in the museum’s African galleries in September. Ové is the first Caribbean artist to be commissioned by the British Museum.

Moko Jumbies are stilt-walkers who represent West African deities or spirits. The ritual was brought to the Americas where it was disguised in masquerade and incorporated into carnival celebrations. “The Moko Jumbies are rooted in the emancipatory traditions of Trinidadian carnival and represent the connection between past and future, ambition and possibility,” Ové says.

Ové, who grew up between London and Trinidad, works in sculpture, film, painting and photography. His Moko Jumbie sculptures are made from found, cast and recycled materials.

“It is an honour to be the first Caribbean artist to be commissioned by the British Museum; the Great Court is one of the most iconic spaces in London,” Ové says. “The sculptures will then be installed in the African galleries, my favourite part of the British Museum, becoming part of the permanent collection.”

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