Croydon Plays Itself

Harold Offeh
January 18, 2019
 to March 2, 2019

Free & open to all

Opening night Thurs 17 Jan 5-9pm

Croydon Plays Itself takes as its starting point a selection of objects from Museum of Croydon’s display. Harold Offeh was invited by Turf Projects to respond to artefacts from the Museum of Croydon’s collection. Offeh was initially drawn to figures and objects from Croydon’s history: composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, sexologist Havelock Ellis, Jakson’s Lavender oil and the promotional materials accompanying the 1993 edition of Croydon’s Pride festival. Offeh’s approach was to think about how these histories might make points of connection with contemporary Croydon. Through previous works Offeh has been interested in how performance and re-enactments can allow people to establish conversations with histories.

Offeh has chosen to work with individuals and groups from Croydon to create a number of responses to the selection of objects from Museum of Croydon. The exhibition installation will seek to use conventions of retail display – in part influenced by Turf’s current location within Croydon’s Whitgift Shopping Centre – to present objects, artefacts, performance and video to audiences. The project invites Croydon to re-visit and re-animate aspects of its own history.


OPENING NIGHT // Thurs 17 Jan, 5-9pm // Free & open to all with BYOB welcome.
Opening night will include a group performance choreographed by Harold Offeh. Croydon Lounging in Croydon will be an evolution of Offeh’s Lounging project, exploring depictions of black men on album covers in repose or lounging – a popular trope for black male singers in the 1980s.


Free activity guides are available for families to explore the exhibition together. Pick up a physical copy at the gallery or click here to download your own; Front / Back


The exhibition and events were made possible with the generous support of the Arts Council England & Croydon Council.


Installation view of Croydon Plays Itself


Harold Offeh is an artist working in a range of media including performance, video, photography, learning and social arts practice in a career spanning 20 years. Offeh, often employs humour as a means to confront the viewer with historical narratives and contemporary culture and is interested in the space created by the inhabiting or embodying of history. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally including Tate Britain and Modern, Studio Museum Harlem, South London Gallery, MAC VAL, Kulturhusset Stockholm and Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2018, his projects included performances at Publics, a contemporary art space in Helsinki, Finland. Actions: The Image of The World Can Be Different, Kettles Yard, Cambridge, UK. The Real Thing: Towards a Live Authentic Archive as part of Material Experiments at The Tetley in Leeds, UK. Offeh produced a 12-hour live event and film called Down at the Twilight Zone, marking queer experiences of nightlife in Toronto, Canada. In 2019, he will be artist in residence at the Contemporary Art Centre, Art Tower Mito, Japan and have a solo exhibition at Turf Projects in Croydon, London. He studied Critical Fine Art Practice at The University of Brighton and MA Fine Art Photography at the Royal College of Art. He lives in Cambridge and works in London and Leeds, UK where he is currently a Reader in Fine Art at Leeds Beckett University and visiting tutor at the Royal College of Art, London.

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Limited Edition Print: ‘Croydon Keeps Turning’, Harold Offeh


Artist-Designed Patch: ‘Croydon Plays Itself’, Harold Offeh