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John Akomfrah


British artist and filmmaker, John Akomfrah created his most ambitious piece to date - an immersive six-channel video installation addressing climate change, human communities and the wilderness.

At a time when, according to the UN, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are at their highest levels in history, with people experiencing the significant impacts of climate change, including shifting weather patterns, rising sea level, and more extreme weather events, Akomfrah’s Purple brought a multitude of ideas into conversation.

These included animal extinctions, the memory of ice, the plastic ocean and global warming. Akomfrah combined hundreds of hours of archival footage with newly shot film and a hypnotic sound score to produce the video installation.

Winner of the 2017 Artes Mundi Prize.

Download the Teacher Resource (pdf)

Tagged with: Art & design Free The Curve

Commissioned by the Barbican, London and co-commissioned by Bildmuseet Umeå, Sweden, TBA21-Academy, the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon, and Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow


‘Ravishing reminders of what we all stand to lose ‘
‘ of the outstanding works of 2017‘
Ben Luke, The Art Newspaper
‘Haunting - shining a light on the fraught relationship humans have with our environment‘


Photo of John Akomfrah

Barbican Meets: John Akomfrah

We meet British artist John Akomfrah to talk art, climate change and how he drew inspiration from his own life for his new commission in The Curve, Purple.

Photo of artist John Akomfrah by the Barbican lakeside

In Conversation: John Akomfrah and Anthony Downey

Listen again as British artist John Akomfrah discusses his video installation Purple with academic, editor and writer, Anthony Downey

a photo of young reviewer leon oteng

Watch: Young Reviewer on John Akomfrah's Purple


Our Young Reviewer Leon explores John Akomfrah's latest work, 'Purple', a six-channel video installation that combines archival footage with newly shot film.

With thanks


Purple exhibition toured to:

Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow
15 June–1 December 2019