The Mothership Connection - CODAworx

The Mothership Connection

Submitted by Zak Ové


Location: London, United Kingdom

Completion date: 2019

Project Team


Zak Ové




The Mothership Connection, is an Afro-Futuristic totemic sculpture which honours the past whilst looking to the future, it stands just under 9 meters tall and is made with stainless steel, fiberglass and resin.

The body of the Totem is resplendent with clashing colours commonly found in African prints and style. At its base the sculpture references the famous Djenné mud mosque of Mali. The ensuing building blocks move through layers up the trunk of the Totem which is adorned with tribal masks recast in luminous resins and etched Veve symbols, found within African Diasporic culture in Haiti.
Near to the top the sculpture’s shape and design changes to echo masonic architecture with columns and triangles appearing along with a ring of Cadillac lights in reference to Western design and consumerism. The penultimate layer takes elements of Washington’s Capitol building with its arches grouped around a sphere. At the head of the Totem sits a super-sized Mende mask, cast in two vibrant colors akin to the head of a lighthouse, with internal lights which constantly change. The future is a common theme in Ove’s work, depicted through the ideas of space travel or a circular return from a point of departure,


Ové is renowned for his work in sculpture, film and photography, work that reinterprets lost culture and mythology through the repurposing or reimagining of modern and second-hand found materials. He pays tribute to African and Trinidadian identities through the interplay of cross-cultural dispersion of ideas and the power of emancipation of the individual through the culture of Carnival and Masquerade.

Based around themes of storytelling and their ability to convey and reframe history, myth and legend and in seeking to reinterpret old world artisan culture for today’s audience using modern materials, The Mothership Connection interweaves elements of Totem making from the Pacific Northwest, with architectural references to the contribution of slaves and indentured labour in creating some of the most historic and representational buildings both in the UK and in the US. Ové highlights this contribution as part of the multi-racial interlacing of histories that make up modern day society. In revealing and heralding the histories and skills of those that were rendered invisible, Ové questions the narrative within history books and the interplay of power and place.


Ove’s work is a collage of myriad influence which results from playing with multiple materials and ideas. He continues this multi referential approach in the making of the Mothership, taking inspiration from the history of architecture in Africa and the legacy of the diaspora worldwide, highlighting known and unknown achievements from the past, present and imagined future.

Additional Information

The entire sculpture illuminates through a variety of LED lights placed throughout the entire body, these back light the various colored motifs and assorted masks and 'windows'. All of the lights are linked together and are programmed to undulate in a lighting sequence that gently pulsates allowing the sculpture to glow akin to it breathing with its own life-force, allowing it to become responsive to its audience as light falls. A link to a 2 minute film below is provided for viewing this sequence.
 The body of the sculpture is pivoted around a centre pole which is constructed from stainless steel 316, welded to a floor plate and braced by triangular gussets. The lighting cables travel through the centre core with the various body sections sliding and locking into place on top of each other. 

The large resin head piece is constructed from translucent sheathing resin. It is wired internally to enable the whole head to glow with separate lights for the eyes.
Constructed to withstand extreme weather all components were chosen with longevity in mind and replaceable electrical components. Each section has an access panel allowing internal maintenance for the lighting.