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darkroom colour print

60.9 X 50.8 cm

Edition 5 + 2 AP


Othello De’Souza-Hartley’s artistic vocabulary encompasses photography, film, performance, sound, drawing and painting. Working across multiple platforms, his practice is concerned with ideas around the human body as a site of embodiment, often taking inspiration from classical paintings and art historical tableaux.

Autograph commissioned De'Souza-Hartley to create new work in response to the wider context of the Covid-19 pandemic for our project Care | Contagion | Community — Self & Other. The series, Blind, but I can See (2020) began as a reflection on what De'Souza-Hartley experienced as the 'treadmill of life that never stops'. Following the unexpected loss of his father Nevil Hartley to Covid-19, the artist created an extended self-portrait in three parts in his father’s bedroom to capture, in his own words, 'the unequitable stillness within it'. Ideas of absence and presence become tangible signifiers in this evocative new body of work.

Alongside a film work comprised of symbolic moving imagery of a tree outside his apartment window and a large-scale painting, the series of photographs taken at his family home represents a mediation of grief whilst emphasising the inevitability of change and seeking tranquillity in the beauty of the everyday – especially amidst the personal and collective crises we are living every day.

To contextualise this new art commission, Autograph invited poet Raymond Antrobus to write a short essay reflecting on themes of loss and grief – as well as time – in Blind, but I can See. This is published alongside an in-depth conversation between the artist and Autograph's senior curator Renée Mussai.


Established in 1988, Autographs mission is to champion the work of artists who use photography and film to highlight questions of race, representation, human rights and social justice.


It is not him walking
up the road in that green,

but you follow his oak face
into the garden where his voice

is still slowly growing spaces
too wide without him.

The air is not his blue coat,
His coat is dust and wood smoke.

Hold your tremble
The man walking the road Is not

Your ache.


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