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Tako Taal

At the shore, everything touches

This exhibition debuts a new body of work by Glasgow-based artist Tako Taal.

Taal’s practice often considers the paradoxes of black subjectivities, and her artistic practice evokes cited, spectral and physical bodies to undermine history, destabilise images and disrupt ideas around identity.

At the shore, everything touches, is the first iteration of a project that considers the changing nature of Taal’s family’s home village in The Gambia – Juffureh. This village is renowned for its proximity to the British slave fort established on what was once known as James Island, now named Kunta Kinteh Island referencing the central protagonist in Alex Haley’s 1976 novel Roots. This new body of work centres on this village – its geography, historical significance as a trade post and fort during the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the ways in which its histories are used and instrumentalised in the present day. In this context, the artist looks to Juffureh as home, as a tourist site and as a point of departure for recent migrations.

This exhibition comprises a new video and sound installation, SAMT utterance_01 (how a name becomes a step, a rhythm, a loop), featuring sound design composition by Claude Nouk, accompanying collage and facsimiles of familial photographs and documents belonging to the artist. Taal’s new works also sit alongside two photographs from Maud Sulter’s 1987 series Sphinx, which serendipitously explore representations of these landscapes in Juffureh over thirty years ago.

At stake in Taal's work are the psychic structures of colonial relations and the question of how vivid they remain in the present. In this project, she reconstructs whispered anecdotes and artefacts from family archives to trace the shifts that merge and split boundaries between body, land and the state.

About the artist

Tako Taal was born in Wales and lives in Glasgow. She graduated in 2015 from Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen. She was a 2019 RAW Academy fellow at RAW Material Company, Dakar and Artist in Residence at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, 2018-20.  

In 2021 Taal was shortlisted for the 2021 Margaret Tait Award; her work is presented at NADA House, Governors Island, New York; and she is co-programmer of GIVE BIRTH TO ME TOMORROW, LUX Scotland's artists' moving image festival. Other exhibitions include: Glasgow Women’s Library, 2019; Grand Union, Birmingham, 2018; CCA Glasgow, 2017; Galerie de l’UQAM, Montreal, 2017; Castlefield Gallery, Manchester, 2019; New Contemporaries, Royal Scottish Academy, 2016. 

This exhibition has been supported by The Elephant Trust.

This exhibition has been supported by The Turtleton Charitable Trust.

DCA's 2021 Exhibitions Programme has been supported by the William Syson Foundation.

Exhibition photography by Ruth Clark.