Aquatopia, the latest of Alex Farquharson’s highly original themed exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary, explores the cultural history of humanity’s imagined relationship with the sea and, especially, the alternative world hidden from sight beneath the ocean’s skin. The show has been justly admired by the critics and will be going on to Tate St Ives this winter. It deserves and amply rewards repeat visits.
There is one work in particular that has wrapped its tentacles around my imagination. Atlantiques, a 15 minute video made by Mati Diop, an artist, film-maker and performer, of French and Senegalese heritage. Much of it is filmed in the light of a fire on a beach in Dakar. Young men discuss the terrors of crossing the ocean in a pirogue for a better life in Spain and the despair of being found and deported to where the journey started.
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