REVIEWED: GIVE AND TAKE by Hew Locke in collaboration with the Batala Samba-Reggae band

By Martin Macdonald

Give and Take is the first performance piece by Hew Locke (b. Edinburgh, UK, 1959), a Brixton-based artist who spent his formative years (1966-1980) in Guyana, on the Caribbean coast of South America. Renowned for using a wide range of media, including painting and sculpture, Locke’s practice explores the role of power whilst drawing on Guyanese and British influences.

Held on Saturday 23 September and forming part of Up Hill Down Hall: An indoor carnival at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall, Give and Take is informed by the history of the Notting Hill Carnival as it reaches its milestone 50th anniversary.

The piece includes a parade of masked drummers, friendly “riot police” redirecting the crowds with sticks and "shields" emblasoned with faรงades of Notting Hill homes, farsical “kettling” scenes, the audience’s gleeful participation, reflections on gentrification, globalisation and cultural appropriation, and, last but not least, a vastly white audience documenting the scenes on mobile phones. As such, the event is taken to a high degree of representation - the carnival itself, the representation of the carnival, the representation of the event as experienced through mobile phones in situ and beyond.  
Give and Take is a true Debordian spectacle and stands on a crossroad of cultures and historic references. It is also accessible, thought-provoking and fun.