John Akomfrah RA, British Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia 2024
Artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah RA will represent Great Britain at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia in 2024, the British Council has announced.
Akomfrah, who was recently honoured with a knighthood in the 2023 UK Honours list, is known for his art films and multi-screen video installations, which explore major issues including racial injustice, colonial legacies, diasporic identities, migration and climate change.
The London-based artist initially came to prominence in the early 1980s as part of the Black Audio Film Collective (BAFC), a group of seven artists founded in 1982.The BAFC’s first film was Handsworth Songs (1986) which explored the events around the 1985 riots in Birmingham and London. In recent years, his multichannel video works have evolved into ambitious, multi-screen installations shown in galleries and museums around the world. In 2017, he won the Artes Mundi prize, the UK’s biggest award for international art. He has previously participated in the 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia with his piece Four Nocturnes, commissioned for the inaugural Ghana Pavilion in 2019.
“It is a huge privilege and an honour to be asked to represent the UK at the 60th Venice Biennale – it is without a doubt one of the most exciting opportunities that an artist can be presented with. I see this invitation as recognition of, and a platform for all those I have collaborated with over the decades, and who continue to make my work possible. I’m grateful to be given a moment to explore the complex history and significance of this institution and the nation it represents, as well as its architectural home in Venice – with all the stories it has told and will continue to.” John Akomfrah.
Melanie Pocock, Acting Artistic Director, Exhibitions, Ikon was delighted to be part of the British Pavilion Selection Committee:
“It was clear in our deliberations that John Akomfrah CBE was a standout nomination. His pioneering work as a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective and epic film installations address urgent issues surrounding the ongoing impact of colonialism, global migration, and the climate emergency. I have no doubt that his response to the British Pavilion in 2024 will be transformative.”
John Akomfrah’s British Council Commission for the British Pavilion at the Biennale Arte Venice will run from 20 April – 24 November 2024. Find out more.
Image caption: John Akomfrah at his London studio, 2016, © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.