Akomfrah, who was honoured with a knighthood within the 2023 honours list, is understood for his artwork movies and multiscreen video installations exploring points comparable to racial injustice, diasporic identities, migration and local weather breakdown.
John Akomfrah, Ghanaian born artist and film-maker will represent the UK at the Venice Biennale in 2024, the British Council announced.
Akomfrah, who was honoured with a knighthood on the 2023 honours list, is known for his practice in filmmaking, and multiscreen video installations exploring issues around racial injustice, diasporic identities, migration and local weather breakdown.
Akomfrah, 65, rose to prominence in the early 1980s as a founding father of the Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC), one of many first teams to address the problem of how Black British neighborhood have been represented on display and within the media. The BAFC’s first movie, Handsworth Songs, explored the occasions across the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London by featuring a mixture of archived footages, pictures, newly shot materials and newsreel.
Akomfrah’s works include The Unfinished Dialog (2012), a portrait of the cultural theorist Stuart Hall’s life and work; Mnemosyne (2010), which uncovered the financial hardships and informal racism confronted by migrants within the UK; Vertigo Sea (2015), a three-screen set up that targeted on the dysfunction and cruelty of the whaling business and juxtaposed it with scenes of generations of migrants making epic ocean crossings looking for a greater life; and Purple (2017), his largest movie set up so far, which addressed the local weather disaster.
He has beforehand instructed the Guardian that shifting to the UK aged 4 has bestowed him with a “ethical obligation” to make works that wade into the talk round migration and offset the “rhetoric of contagion” utilized by many to explain the stream of refugees into Europe.
In 2017 the artist received the Artes Mundi prize, the UK’s largest award for worldwide artwork. He had participated in 2019’s Venice Biennale presenting his piece 4 Nocturnes – which was commissioned for the inaugural Ghana pavilion and mirrored the advanced, intertwined relationship between humanity’s destruction of the pure world and destruction of the self.
Akomfrah has said that it is a “large privilege and honour” to be requested to represent the UK at one of the world's most renowned art festivals. “It’s no doubt one of the crucial thrilling alternatives that an artist could be introduced with,” he said.
“I see this invitation as recognition of and a platform for all these I’ve collaborated with over the many years, and who proceed to make my work potential. I’m grateful to be given a second to discover the advanced historical past and significance of this establishment and the nation it represents, in addition to its architectural dwelling in Venice – with all of the tales it has instructed and can proceed to.”
The British Council has been accountable for the British pavilion on the Venice Biennale since 1937. Artists together with latest Golden Lion winner Sonia Boyce, Tracey Emin, Phyllida Barlow and Steve McQueen have all represented the UK.
Skinder Hundal, world director of arts on the British Council and commissioner of the British pavilion, stated: “With a profession spanning 4 many years, the judges felt that Akomfrah had made a really vital contribution to the UK and worldwide up to date artwork scene. John’s inspiring fashion and narrative has constantly developed, revealing key concepts and questions in regards to the world we inhabit.
“The standard and contextual depth of his artistry by no means fails to encourage deep reflection and awe. For the British Council to have such a big British-Ghanaian artist in Venice is an exhilarating second.”
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