The Masque of Blackness – Hand Drawn Animation 2018

The Masque of Blackness – Gallery 46, London E1 2AJ   6th September – 6th October 2018 and Outdoor Screening at The National Theatre – 27th-29th September 2018

The Masque of Blackness – hand drawn animation by Epoh beech  – 30 second trailer

The Masque of Blackness at the National Theatre Lyttelton Flytower – 27th September – 3 minute film of the event

The Masque of Blackness – The National Theatre Lyttelton Flytower from Epoh Beech on Vimeo.

As part of Totally Thames 2018 The Masque of Blackness  was monumentally projected onto the National Theatre Flytower over three evenings. (see 3 minute film of the launch event above)

The project was a recipient of an Arts Grant from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (2011) and was sponsored by Londonewcastle. 

Stills from the hand drawn animation The Masque of Blackness,  (12 minutes 45 seconds)

Drawings from the animation The Masque of Blackness, 2011 – 2018 exhibited at Gallery 46, along side the animation screening.

The exhibition included moving drawings and smaller works on animation paper.

Press Release for The Masque of Blackness

EPOH BEECH “THE MASQUE OF BLACKNESS” A Solo exhibition at Gallery 46 curated by Lee Sharrock September 6 – October 6, 2018

More than 7 years in the making and inspired by elements of Joseph Conrad’s novella Heart of Darkness  and Ben Jonson’s Jacobean masque (play) The Masque of Blackness, Epoh Beech’s animated film was screened at Gallery 46 in East London. Accompanying the film there was an extensive series of drawings and preparatory sketches of varying scale, detailing the journey of the painstakingly created animation.

Collaborators on the 12 minute animated film include; film animator and editor Matthew Thomas; musician Esben Tjalve who has composed a unique soundtrack; and Julia Gillespie, a former ballet dancer with Rambert Dance Company. The exhibition will also feature 3D paper maquettes made by Duncan Mude

Through the drawings and animation, Epoh Beech reimagines and weaves together the literary works of ‘The Masque of Blackness’ (1605) where the Niger River is protagonist, and Joseph Conrad’s journey up the Congo in ‘Heart of Darkness’ (1899). The exhibition examines the relationship between the Thames and West African rivers, in particular the Niger, Congo, Volta and Ankobra rivers. The artist has spent many days walking and drawing by the banks of these rivers, both physically and in her imagination (see Ghana Sketch  book) .  ‘Heart of Darkness’ is narrated at dusk, by an anonymous narrator, who is a crew member on board a boat (yawl) called ‘The Nellie’. This yawl is moored at Gravesend on the Thames at dusk. There is a link between the Thames and West African rivers and the imagination as a metaphor for unexplored territory, the unknown. Conrad’s use of frame narrative (story within a story) in ‘Heart of Darkness’ is also used in Epoh Beech’s animation.

Epoh Beech  comments: “In both drawing and animation I am interested in where time is located. In a still image time is located in the viewer and in a moving image time is located in the actual image itself. Using the palimpsest technique in the drawing, (a process of drawing and rubbing out, leaving a trace of what has been before) inspired by William Kentridge and by Hiroshi Sugimoto. I’m exploring the transience of the still image, the impact of the moving image. I am interested in exploring the combination of moving and still images, projected light/stroboscopic light, natural light, mythical symbolism and music to see how, when these elements are combined together they can take the viewer to new, unchartered waters, in their own imaginations.”

Please do contact [email protected]  if you would like more information or would like to be added to the project mailing list.