Barbican Art Gallery has commissioned experimental filmmaker John Akomfrah to create a new work for the Curve. Akomfrah’s films are characterised by their investigations into subjects such as memory, identity, post-colonialism and often explore the experience of the African diaspora in Europe and the United States.
A founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective (1982), his first film Handsworth Songs (1986) focussed on the riots in Birmingham and London through a charged combination of archive footage, documentary photographs and newsreel. Akomfrah’s standout work at last year’s Venice 56th Biennale was his paen to the ocean, Vertigo Sea (2015).
A three-channel video installation comprising of thousands of hours of archival footage, spliced with new material and a hypnotic sound score, Vertigo Sea focused on a range of histories from whaling, deep sea excavation to migration. Born in 1957, Accra, Ghana, Akomfrah lives and works in London.
Notes to Editors
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The Curve, Barbican, London
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Barbican Art Gallery and The Curve
One of the leading art spaces in the UK, Barbican Art Gallery presents the best of international visual art with a dynamic mix of art, architecture, design, fashion and photography. From acclaimed architects to Turner prize-winning artists, the Gallery exhibits innovators of the 20th and 21st centuries: key players who have shaped developments and stimulated change. The Curve is dedicated to a vibrant programme of new commissions, created by leading international artists in direct response to this distinctive gallery space.
About the Barbican
A world-class arts and learning organisation, the Barbican pushes the boundaries of all major art forms including dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts. Its creative learning programme further underpins everything it does. Over 1.1 million people attend events annually, hundreds of artists and performers are featured, and more than 300 staff work onsite. The architecturally renowned centre opened in 1982 and comprises the Barbican Hall, the Barbican Theatre, The Pit, Cinemas One, Two and Three, Barbican Art Gallery, a second gallery The Curve, foyers and public spaces, a library, Lakeside Terrace, a glasshouse conservatory , conference facilities and three restaurants. The City of London Corporation is the founder and principal funder of the Barbican Centre.
The Barbican is home to Resident Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra ; Associate Ensembles the Academy of Ancient Music and Britten Sinfonia , Associate Producer Serious , and Artistic Partner Create . Our Artistic Associates include Boy Blue Entertainment , Cheek by Jowl , Deborah Warner, Drum Works and Michael Clark Company . International Associates are Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam , New York Philharmonic , Los Angeles Philharmonic , Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig and Jazz at Lincoln Center .
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