Moving image and video play several roles in artist Harold Offeh’s work. Initially interested in performance-to-camera as an art student – in subverting the language and modes of popular culture and television with video as his tool – Offeh’s recent work has developed beyond that medium to include collaborative projects and ‘curatorial’ works where he devises larger projects with multiple artists and groups of participants. While the influence of moving image is always present in Offeh’s oeuvre, the effect of film and television culture in his practice is evident not only in the form his work takes, but also the content that informs it.
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. His videos and performances question notions of representation and identity, drawing on familiar cultural references in film, song and art. He has shown widely both in Britain and abroad; including East International, Norwich; Ghosting, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth; At Your Service, David Roberts Art Foundation, London; Espaco Bananeiras, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Metropolis Rise, CQL Design Center, Shanghai, China.
His recent curatorial projects include The Mothership Collective for the South London Gallery and a forthcoming major curatorial commission with Picture This in Bristol 2009/10. Offeh is an Associate Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art at Leeds Metropolitan University. He lives and works in London and is currently an Artsadmin associate artist and a trustee on the board at Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth.
Offeh was nominated by Jananne Al-Ani for Contemporary Art Society’s ARTfutures 2008 held at Bloomberg SPACE, London.