Power to the People: Curator Zak Ové introduces Get Up, Stand Up Now

By Somerset House

"Power to the People" we would all say, with our fists raised high, sat at the dinner table together ready to eat. My father Horace - photographer, filmmaker, activist and instigator - was committed to political engagement and this small everyday action is indicative of how my parents incorporated their politics and beliefs into the fabric of our family home.

Young Zak Ové (1971/1971) by Horace OvéSomerset House

Journalists interviewing Michael X at a Black Power meeting (1968/1968) by Horace OvéSomerset House

In reflecting on my father’s career, I realise how much he involved my siblings and I in his work and his ‘scene’, be it at a shebeen in Ladbroke Grove, Sunday afternoon jazz at the Coleherne pub, or accompanying him to an edit suite. Because of this, over time, his peers became my peers, with many of them becoming so close we now consider ourselves an extended family.

Get Up, Stand Up Now | Somerset HouseSomerset House

Curating this exhibition marks a special moment in being able to draw on these influential relationships and examine the legacy they developed here in Britain for us all, through their creative work, passion, activism and social engagement. I am honoured to have some of these creative pioneers contribute to this publication and share their personal recollections and experiences.

Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Peter MacdiarmidSomerset House

The structure of this exhibition is built around the themes explored in their work, and the photography and films from Horace’s archive.

Shrine to Wisdom - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Victor EkpukSomerset House

Works relate to each other throughout the exhibition, and additional guiding themes are established in a series of rooms titled Motherland, Dream to Change the World, Imaginary Landscapes, Masquerade and Mothership.

Woke - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Sanford BiggersSomerset House

The wonderful poems reflect these themes and feature alongside works dating from the 1960s through to the present day.

Who Needs A Heart - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Black Audio Film Collective, John AkomfrahSomerset House

Inter-generational, inter-disciplinary creative works resonate together, interrogating issues that remain relevant today – from racism, representation and the framing of identity, to collaboration and community.

Veni, Vidi, Vici - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Hew LockeSomerset House

Each artist has been invited to exhibit due to the significant role that they have played in terms of shaping the cultural landscape and in translating their local and personal experiences into a universal language.

Boys - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Lavar MunroeSomerset House

I have selected artists from Africa, America, the Caribbean and Britain as these are the places and cultures that have influenced my father and I and that continue to inspire a diasporic cultural exchange.

Hair Relaxer / Style Variation 9 - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by David Hammonds / Derrick AdamsSomerset House

Many of the artists and works included reflect a continuation of social consciousness and political drive, referencing the past to re-imagine the future.

Free Speech Platform - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Ishmahil Blagrove JrSomerset House

This exhibition reflects unadulterated Black pride, with the freedom to fill in all the blanks, where we didn’t exist before.

Carnival Trolley - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Ishmahil Blagrove JrSomerset House

It feels timely to review and celebrate how our Caribbean and African culture has permeated and contributed to society and reveal how we are all the richer for it.

Revolution Kid (Calf) / Woke - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Yinka Shonibare CBE / Sanford BiggersSomerset House

This is our history and that knowledge hopefully provides liberation and empowerment for a great many real or future battles that many still feel they face today.

Umbilical Progenitor - as part of Get Up, Stand Up Now (2019/2019) by Zak OvéSomerset House

Get Up, Stand Up Now hopefully provides a torch for us all to carry with us into the future.

Get Up, Stand Up Now Film | Somerset HouseSomerset House

Get Up, Stand Up Now at Somerset House, 12 June - 15 September 2019

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