Awards for Artists
Image of Harold Offeh
Photo: Emile Holba.

Harold Offeh

Harold Offeh (born 1977) works in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice. Offeh often employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and aspects of contemporary culture. He is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history. Recent projects have explored encounters with museum objects and artefacts, forgotten queer histories and intersections of the body and technology. Through performance, collaboration and conversation, he develops work that responds to places, situations and histories.

He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally including Tate Britain and Tate Modern, London; the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; South London Gallery, London; MAC VAL, Paris; Kulturhuset, Stockholm; and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen.

Recent projects include performances at Publics, a contemporary art space in Helsinki, Finland and The Real Thing: Towards a Live Authentic Archive as part of Material Experiments at The Tetley in Leeds, UK. In 2019, he was artist in residence at the Contemporary Art Center, Art Tower Mito, Japan and he had a solo exhibition at Turf Projects in Croydon, London. In 2020, Offeh will present a new film as part of the group exhibition Untitled … at Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge. The film is based on a 12-hour live event Offeh produced called Down at the Twilight Zone, marking queer experiences of nightlife in Toronto, Canada. He’s currently working on a commission for the Wellcome Collection examining historical links between social dance, protest and happiness.

This award comes as a huge surprise! With so many deserving and talented artists working, I’m immensely humbled. I must give thanks to my nominator, the judges and Paul Hamlyn Foundation for their support and recognition. This award offers three years of financial stability which will gift me time and independence. Having benefitted greatly from the support of a network of collaborators and organisations who have invested time and patience in my practice. I’m committed to reinvesting this generous award to further new networks, support new collaborations and enable future research. It takes a village to raise an artist!
Harold Offeh

Examples of work

Croydon Plays Itself, 2019

Croydon Plays Itself, 2019

Exhibition installation view at Turf Projects, London, 2019. Created in response to artefacts from the Museum of Croydon’s collection and working with individuals and local groups. Photo: Tim Bowditch.

Down at The Twilight Zone, 2018

Down at The Twilight Zone, 2018

Performance documentation. 12 hours duration (7pm-7am). A 12-hour celebration and re-enactment of Toronto’s queer nightlife as part of Nuit Blanche Toronto 2018. Photo: Andrew Williamson.

The Real Thing: Archive of Me, 2019

The Real Thing: Archive of Me, 2019

10 channel video installation. Exhibited at The Tetley, Leeds as part of The Real Thing: Towards an Authentic Live Archive, 2018. Photo: Jules Lister.

Connect, Enable, Accelerate, 2018

Connect, Enable, Accelerate, 2018

Video, 4 minutes 40 seconds duration (extract 1m 48s). Exhibited at Cambridge Betterment Society Screening, Cambridge. Commissioned by The University of Cambridge and Commission Projects, 2018.