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Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within* (2016)

Paul Maheke

single-channel digital video

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within* (2016)

Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Sultana. Photo: Henry Chan Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Sultana. Photo: Henry Chan



Moving Image




13:30 minutes


Presented by the Contemporary Art Society, 2017/18

Ownership history:

Purchased from Galerie Sultana, Paris by the Contemporary Art Society, 3 March 2018; presented to Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool, 2018
Paul Maheke’s practice encompasses performance, film, installation and sculpture, often reflecting on notions of identity and belonging. His recent work has particularly addressed and disrupted the representation of queer Blackness in Western art and culture.

I Lost Track of the Swarm (2016) was made by Maheke during a six-month graduate residency at South London Gallery in 2016. The three-channel work features three unique videos of the artist dancing alone in a dark space, lit by a single light. In one video the light is held in his hands, in another it is attached to his waist. In the third it appears behind him like a spotlight. I Lost Track of the Swarm expands on concepts central to the artist’s practice, including his understanding of the body as an archive, in which history, memory and identity are fused. For the artist, movement and dance can be a way to process history and experience, both lived and inherited, while simultaneously asserting the performer’s own presence and agency.

Seeking After the Fully Grown Dancer *deep within* (2016), first performed in Toronto in 2016, is inspired by the principles of ‘authentic movement’, an expressive and improvised dance practice in which a performer’s movement emerges through their subconscious, free from direction or expectation. The original performance has been acquired for the Walker Art Gallery’s collection along with a film of the same title, based on the live performance, with subtitled narration. Both the performance and film explore the power relationship between performer and audience.

The acquisition of these works for the Walker Art Gallery strengthens their existing holdings of contemporary art, particularly in new media and performance, while supporting their aim to embed and foreground queer and LGBT+ histories and narratives in the collection.

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