One of many paintings from Sharif Persaud’s solo exhibition ‘Have You Ever Had’ that opened on 28th February at Autograph, London. The show is an exploration of Persaud’s relationship to his own body, his mind and his engagement with various health conditions and the institutions and people who provide his treatment.
Persaud takes us on a journey that challenges our sense of order and what can be regarded as health or wellbeing – from a gangrenous foot to multiple engagements with health professionals who appear to be at once caring and somewhat menacing. The treatment teams at the hospital become actors in a soap opera. Then there is a moment when he is temporarily freed from the doctors and he swims alone in the sea off the coast of Egypt.
There is a short film,’The Mask’, in which Persaud walks along a coastal footpath to a theatre. Along the way he talks about himself and what it means to have autism, all the time wearing his favourite celebrity mask of Al Murray the Pub Landlord – then Murray himself appears and they both talk about allergies, dreams, nightmares.
‘Have You Ever Had’ is at Autograph until 23 May.
Image: Sharif Persuad, Holby City, 2014