Paul Maheke: To Be Blindly Hopeful at Mostyn

Maja Lorkowska, Exhibitions Editor
An installation view of Paul Maheke's exhibition at Mostyn.
Paul Maheke, To Be Blindly Hopeful, Installation view at Mostyn, 2024. Image: Rob Battersby.

Paul Maheke: To Be Blindly Hopeful at MOSTYN in Llandudno, Wales, Llandudno Until 29 June 2024 Entrance is free — Visit now

Paul Maheke’s work comes to Llandudno, with Mostyn gallery currently being home to To Be Blindly Hopeful, the largest solo exhibition of his work in the UK.

The multidisciplinary artist was born to Congolese parents, previously based in France and now resides in London. His practice spans drawing (which is the focus of To Be Blindly Hopeful), dance, video, installation, performance and the combination of these fields. 

Conceptually, Maheke is interested in an array of subjects but he regularly comes back to decolonial practices and identity politics. Despite the monumentality of these interests, however, he does not shy away from more personal expression as well, focusing on his own history, spirituality and experiences. In fact, it is the tension between the personal and the public that often propels his artistic concepts. Maheke describes his work as Black and queer but these are not his subjects, rather they characterise his oeuvre. 

The title of the show is taken from the artist’s journal (available to read on the website and in the gallery), written between 2020 and 2021, where he describes recent traumatic experiences he was subjected to by an ex-partner. The works in the exhibition are, in a way, a response to this period and Maheke’s processing of the experience, with flashbacks and fragments being directly addressed, such as in the film Taboo Durag (2021) where the artist appears to dance through the trauma and allows his body to feel the intensity of any emotions that arise.

To Be Blindly Hopeful mainly consists of Maheke’s drawings, some directly on the walls using his digitally produced pieces, while others are painted using acrylic pens on aluminium panels. There are coloured stripes on the walls behind the drawings, adding another visual layer.

Despite the dark origins of the show, it is actually rooted in hope as the title suggests: hope as a courageous act of faith in the face of adversity and a force of transformation. Maheke often quotes writer bell hooks: “the space of our lack is also the space of possibility” referring to the possibilities that arise when we embrace the unknown in moments of doubt. 

Paul Maheke: To Be Blindly Hopeful at MOSTYN in Llandudno, Wales, Llandudno Until 29 June 2024 Entrance is free Visit now

Where to go near Paul Maheke: To Be Blindly Hopeful at Mostyn

Plate of fish and chips
Fish Tram Chips

Fish Tram Chips is an award-winning fish and chip shop in Llandudno.

People crossing a bridge
Event venue

Portmeirion was created by the architect Clough Williams-Ellis from 1925 to 1976. He wanted to show how a naturally beautiful site could be developed without spoiling it – and hoped the village…

Birkenhead Priory
Tourist Attraction
Birkenhead Priory

Birkenhead Priory’s history includes royalty, the birth of a city, and a religious life – a gateway to understanding the Wirral.

Lady Lever Art Gallery

Worth a detour from Liverpool, Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight is a fantastic gallery with one of the UK’s finest art collections.

Pier Head
Tourist Attraction
Pier Head

Head to the Pier Head for Liverpool’s most iconic buildings on the waterfront.

The British Music Experience

It’s a discotheque for the senses, an incredible collection of artefacts and memorabilia, audio guides, music and stories. There are iconic costumes worn by David Bowie, Freddie Mercury, Dusty Springfield, the Spice Girls and Adam Ant, and musical instruments played by some of the world’s most renowned artists from Noel Gallagher to the Sex Pistols.

What's on: Exhibitions

Culture Guides

Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga
Cinema in Manchester and the North

From the latest installment in the Mad Max franchise, to silent movie masterpieces we highlight the best new releases and big screen classics showing near you this month.