ART+FILM presents John Akomfrah
About the event
Join us for a screening and discussion of two works by British artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah.
Akomfrah first came to attention in the 1980s as a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective. Known for his use of archival film footage, still photography and newsreel combined with new material, Akomfrah’s works are informed by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics, and often explore the experience of the African diaspora in Europe and the United States.
The Last Angel of History (1996), created by the Black Audio Film Collective (a collaboration with artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul) was one of the most influential film essays of the 1990s. The film is a future mythology connecting black culture, outer space, and science fiction to explore the pan-African experience of forced displacement, cultural alienation and otherness. Jumping between past and future, the film draws together George Clinton's Mothership Connnection, Sun Ra's extraterrestrial iconography, the writings of black science fiction authors Samuel R. Delaney and Octavia Butler, and interviews with black cultural figures including DJ Spooky, Goldie and Derek May.
Tropikos (2016), one of Akomfrah's most recent films, transforms the landscape of the Tamar Valley in the South West of England into a sixteenth-century port of exploration on the African continent in order to reveal the deep-rooted and darker history of the river and the UK’s role in the development and proliferation of the slave trade.
The screening will be followed by a discussion with Joel Stern, artistic director of Liquid Architecture, and Santilla Chingaipe, award-winning journalist and documentary filmmaker. The discussion will be led by Ian Potter Museum of Art Curatorial Manager Jacqueline Doughty.
This ART+FILM event is presented in conjunction with the exhibition of John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea (2015) at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne, from 19 April – 16 July.
Presented in partnership with the Ian Potter Museum of Art.
Image: John Akomfrah, The Last Angel of History (film still), 1996 © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery.
About the artist
Akomfrah (born 1957, Accra, Ghana) lives and works in London. He has had numerous solo exhibitions including Perth International Arts Festival, John Curtin Gallery, Perth, Australia (2017); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2016); Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2016); Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden (2015); Tate Britain, London, UK (2013-14) and a week-long series of screenings at MoMA, New York, USA (2011). His participation in group shows has included ‘All the World’s Futures’, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy (2015); ‘History is Now: 7 Artists Take On Britain’, Hayward Gallery, London, UK (2015); Sharjah Biennial 11, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (2013); Liverpool Biennial, UK (2012) and Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2012).