Questioning stereotypes and scripted roles of gender and race, the works on this exhibition span more than five years of constant experimentation. De’Souza-Hartley’s practice includes performance, video, sound and photography, working with different sitters and also extensively with his own body. His background in theatre and contemporary dance is present behind many of the works in the exhibition especially on his self-portraits, and is evident across his work directing and choreographing collaborative projects.
The show features works from his series Masculinity (2010-2016), I am (2017) and Within (2017). TheMasculinity series is divided into phases; the images on this exhibition have been selected from Phase 2 Masculinity Portraits (2010-2011), Phase 4 Barbershop (2011), Phase 5 Redcar and Wakefield (2014) and the recent Phase 7, shot in London. The starting point of this long project is the concept of masculinity, and how to strip it out of conventions and stereotypes through the vulnerability of the naked body. Interacting with different environments – from his native London through to towns in the north of England, and an impromptu performance in New Orleans – De’Souza-Hartley works in spaces that are loaded with meaning.
I am and Within show the most recent developments in his work, examining issues beyond masculinity. I am was inspired by a fashion collaboration with fashion designer Lamula Anderson, focusing on the materiality of afro hair and questioning its role and importance in black women’s identity. Lastly, this exhibition includes De’Souza-Hartley’s most recent work Within, produced and shot in Uganda during a residency in 2017. It features a selection from more than 100 portraits to reflect on issues of identity and place. Working out of a shipping container, De’Souza-Hartley built a photo studio with local materials including red earth and dyed rope, where he shot portraits and recorded interviews with his sitters over a number of weeks. The piece has been installed as a bespoke projection for the gallery space. Image credit: Othello De’Souza-Hartley I Masculinity – Phase 3 – Barbershop I 2011 I 120mm film on C type handprint I Edition of 5 I 1259x1017cm I Courtesy Sulger-Buel Lovell and the Artist
The exhibtition runs. 06 – 28 September 2018 Where: Unit 2 La Gare, 51 Surrey Row, London SE1 0BZ