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Zak Ové at the Chelsea Flower Show

London Gate | 21st -25th May 2024


British-Caribbean artist Zak Ové has been commissioned by Saatchi Gallery for its 2024 RHS Chelsea Flower Show garden. Titled 'Abeba Esse', the garden will depict a Black Diasporic journey, from Africa to the Caribbean, and ultimately the UK.


Zak Ové, The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, Somerset House 2016, Photo © Peer Lindgreen
Zak Ové, The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, Somerset House 2016, Photo © Peer Lindgreen

Visitors will be led down a path through changing landscapes, encountering Ové’s 'Invisible Man' sculptures along their journey. The African section reflects the idea of ‘Paradise Found’, which Ové describes as, “An autochthonous verdant, jungle scene, where plant life grows untamed in a raw and natural state.” Yet here, visitors will incongruously encounter a rocket ship sculpture, which takes influence from Afrofuturism, and invites the question ‘what is happening here?’


Moving into the Caribbean, visitors will see a change in the native lush flora and fauna of the islands to that of tilled earth with planted crops, typical of slave plantations. The gateway is marked by a change in the path - from the dark soil of the African jungle, to wooden planks that reference the slave ships that carried many through the infamous Middle Passage.


Finally, they will reach a quintessential English garden, featuring the kinds of plants found in stately homes and country houses, indicative of the power and wealth accrued in the UK through slavery. Throughout the garden, botanical labels record the names of historical figures, institutions and corporations who benefited from investments in slavery.



Zak Ové, The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, 2016-17, Courtesy the artist and YSP.  Photo © Jonty Wilde
Zak Ové, The Invisible Man and the Masque of Blackness, 2016-17, Courtesy the artist and YSP. Photo © Jonty Wilde

Reflecting on his hopes for what visitors will take away from the garden, Ové says:


“History is alive and with us every day, the past is the food on our table and the roof over our head. How we got where we are is often obfuscated by the way in which history may have been told. Here visitors have journeyed with the Diaspora and joined together with the sculptures to examine a past that has remained hidden yet beneath our very feet.”


Location:

UK


Dates:

Tuesday 21st May - Saturday 25th May 2024


 


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