Paul Maheke has a varied and often collaborative body of work. Most recently he has worked with performance and video to create works that disrupt representations of queer Blackness, which have grown out of Western discourse. He shies away from aligning his work with academia, preferring to think of it as poetical over theoretical.
Maheke’s current research imagines the body as an archive, using its waters as pathways to information and knowledge in order to address how memory and identity are formed and constituted. Tropicalité, l'Île et l'Exote (2014) is a silent French/English subtitled video, which considers the notion of islands and bodies as colonised spaces and territories as well as possible sites of resistance. Featuring sweeping seascapes and glorious marine life, the footage was shot on the artificial island of Vassivière in France, and the tropical French overseas region of La Réunion in the Indian Ocean. The view later switches to the artist performing a spirited, seemingly improvised dance inside what appears to be an empty swimming pool. The piece describes the empowerment and decolonisation of one's body, as well as exploring concepts such as otherness, exoticism and subjectivity.
- Artwork Details: running time: 12 minutes 50seconds
- Edition: 1 of 3 + 1 AP
- Material description: HD video with subtitles (silent)
- Credit line: © Paul Maheke
- Medium: Film and Audio Visual
- Accession number: ACC2/2017