John Akomfrah has been selected along with 143 other international artists to display a new work at the 56th Venice Biennale, All the World’s Futures, curated by Okwui Enwenzor.
Akomfrah’s presentation, Vertigo Sea, is a new three-screen film installation, which forms a meditation on whaling, the environment and our relationship with the sea. Vertigo Sea will be on display in the Biennale’s Central Pavilion.
For the last 30 years and spanning cinema, television, and gallery-based installations, John Akomfrah’s work has engaged with questions of memory and identity, creating moving-image works which give a voice to the legacy of the African Diaspora in Europe. He fills the voids in history using archival material to create film essays and speculative fictional stories about our collective past. He is renowned for innovating with the boundaries of the documentary form and the format of the film essay. His poetic and polyphonic films create sensual visual and audio experiences while developing a filmic language to understand the trauma and sense of alienation of displaced subjects.
Akomfrah’s last major work, The Unfinished Conversation, a multi-layered installation which investigated cultural, ethnic and personal identity through the memories of late academic and cultural theorist Stuart Hall was exhibited at Tate Britain in London from October 2013 to November 2014.
Vertigo Sea is a Smoking Dogs Film Production supported by Sharjah Art Foundation; BBC Natural History Unit; British Film Institute; Arts Council of England; Baltic Arts Centre, Sweden; Bildmuseet, Sweden; Swedish Arts Council; Tyneside Cinema Gallery
John Akomfrah was born in 1957 in Accra, Ghana. He lives and works in London. He co-founded seminal media group Black Audio Film Collective. His work has been shown in museums and galleries including the Liverpool Biennial; Documenta 11, Kassel; the De Balie, Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Serpentine Gallery and Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and MoMA, New York. A major retrospective of Akomfrah’s gallery-based work with the Black Audio Film Collective premiered at FACT, Liverpool and Arnolfini, Bristol in 2007. His films have been included in international film festivals such as Cannes, Toronto, Sundance, amongst others.