Tako Taal / Halo Nevus
8 May - 1 August 2021
Tako Taal, Halo Nevus (still), 2018, HD video with sound, 13 min, 19 sec
Commissioned text by Seán Elder, 2021
SHIFT Artist Talks / Tako Taal & Seán Elder in conversation
Halo Nevus, is a beautifully urgent film that has as a protagonist the artist’s birthmark. The film follows the process of the birthmark’s depigmentation and dissipation over the course of five years - a white ring is formed around its dark brown pigment, causing it to fade slowly. Using this powerful metaphor, Taal explores the yearning for a home country in a critical and pivotal moment of civic rupture. The film maps the incremental movement of the birthmark, shifting and overlapping with domestic routines. Borrowing from Gambian folklore, the work looks to matrilineal relationships and the boundaries that shape national identities.
Halo Nevus’ ‘visceral universality’ is found in the use of the body in its ever changing capacity, drawing associations to how identities are inherited, created and erased. As curator Seán Elder writes in an accompanying text for the work, ‘the nature of change and “now-ness” insists that we shift our gaze constantly between historical context(s), the realities of contemporaneity, and the fictive space of the future.’ By presenting the work in the context of this exhibition, the narrative is expanding to touch upon the colonial history of Governors Island, and how it has shaped its presence and use over the years.
Tako Taal is an artist-filmmaker living in Glasgow. At stake in her artistic practice are the psychic structures of colonial relations and the question of how vivid they remain in the present.
Taal graduated in 2015 from Gray’s School of Art, Aberdeen with a BA Hons in Contemporary Art Practice. She was a 2019 RAW Academy fellow at RAW Material Company, Dakar and Artist in Residence at Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh, 2018-20. In 2020 her work was presented at Glasgow Short Film Festival, Tramway, Glasgow, Glasgow Women’s Library. Her work was part of the Berwick Film and Media Arts Festival, 2018. 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; Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow, 2014. Taal is shortlisted for the 2021 Margaret Tait Award.