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Passion Day: Creatively bringing to life what was once forgotten

27th May 2017

On her Passion Day, Safa Kazzam, Senior Events & Experience Executive at M&C Saatchi PR, speaks with British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové, currently exhibited at the British Museum. Safa draws inspiration from the artist’s new sculpture collection, and brings back with her to the world of experiential marketing ideas on how to artistically bring to life what was once forgotten.

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Besides having a strong interest in the arts, working within event production, I am always on the lookout for inspiration that could be useful as reference for future events by visiting different galleries and exhibitions.

So for my passion day, I paid a visit to the British Museum. Although I have been to the museum on several occasions in the past, I like to revisit the Africa department as they tend to have interesting installations.

I heard about an installation by British-Trinidadian artist Zak Ové, that caught my interest. To my luck, Zak Ové was at the museum at the time of my visit and I jumped at the opportunity to ask him what the installation was inspired by.

The installation consists of Moko Jumbie figures, inspired by the Trinidad Carnival. Moko Jumbie figures became a key feature of carnival in Trinidad in the early 1900s. Oral traditions describe the Moko Jumbie as a guardian of villages who could foresee danger and protect inhabitants from evil forces. Traditionally, Moko Jumbie figures wore long colourful skirts or trousers over their stilts and masks covering their faces.

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The sculptures consist of a male and a female figure in striking black and gold costumes that are inspired by aspects of African masquerade and reflect Ove’s interest in African identity and the African diaspora. With these sculptures, Zak Ové wanted to celebrate African contributions to the world carnival.

Ové proceeded to tell me that he used various recycled materials, inclining aluminium for the black feathers, brass for the golden wings, and fiberglass for additional ornaments to assemble the giant Moko Jumbie figures. Generally, in his work he seeks to reignite and reinterpret lost culture using new-world materials, whilst paying tribute to both spiritual and artistic African identity. Demonstrating that once forgotten materials can be manipulated into a beautiful piece of art, something I’ll bare in mind for future projects.

About Passion Days at M&C Saatchi PR

Our core agency proposition is Driven by Passion. We empower each of our staff across the world to take 1 day off in the year (excluding holiday allocation) to pursue their personal passions. This allows us to understand what drives our people beyond their CVs, and ultimately ‘passion-map’ everyone to businesses they’re genuinely passionate about working with. For example, in the last six months we’ve seen account managers who attended Europe’s best art exhibitions working on our recent House of Peroni virtual reality experience (see here) as well as a horse riding account executive jumping over to the Deezer team for our April Fools horse stunt (see here).