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Smile

Harold Offeh
2001
2.58 mins Colour Sound Video

Smile

Harold Offeh works with short-form video and animation.

Influenced by early filmed performance work from the 1970s, Offeh assumes the role of protagonist in his modestly produced video works to address notions of desire, identity and the stereotyping of race within the everyday and popular culture.

According to the artist:
"Smile was very influenced by the work of artists like Vito Acconci, Bruce Nauman and Joan Jonas. Smile arose in part as a response to a work by Vito Acconci and in part a literal translation of the song Smile, written by Charlie Chaplin and, in this case, sung by Nat King Cole. Chaplin's lyric sets out a specific set of instructions, "smile through your fear and sorrow". The video simply follows this instruction. In the original version of this piece the smile is maintained for 34 minutes. In this version it is cut to the length of the song, just under 3 minutes."
Museum of Modern Art, Oxford

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