Harold Offeh is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. To assess contemporary popular media representations of race, identity and desire, he has employed a range of strategies, including found footage and deceptively simple performance-based videos, stemming initially from his research into early video practitioners such as Vito Acconci, William Wegman, Bruce Nauman, Adrian Piper and Martha Rosler, all of whom used the medium to explore the body, space, race and gender as well as the relationship between addresser and addressee.
Offeh often employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture and is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history. Communication across cultures, and deconstructing the boundaries that imply cultural difference in the first place, is what Offeh’s work is all about. At its heart, Offeh’s artwork is a practice that is playful and deceptively light of touch: he’s a dancer, a smiler, a Mammy, and an Afrofuturist Angela Davis in drag (aptly named Mangela Davis). And these strategies, whether personae or collaborations, allow Offeh to consistently be within the work, having a direct engagement to the camera, and in turn to the audience.
Harold Offeh was born in Ghana in 1977. He studied Fine Art at Brighton University and Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art, and has exhibited widely including Tate Britain and Modern, Studio Museum Harlem, South London Gallery, David Roberts Art Foundation, Espaco Bananeiras, Rio de Janeiro, Kulturhusset Stockholm and Kunsthal Charlottenborg.
He regularly runs workshops, most recently in July at Black Hole Club with Performance As A Tool Performance As Research which with questions like ‘What is the role of the body and subjective experiences in shaping our understandings of histories and situations?’ aimed at allowing ALL artists working in any medium to think about the role of performance, actions and audiences play in their work and research.
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