John Akomfrah Wins the Artes Mundi 7 Art Prize

John Akomfrah Wins the Artes Mundi 7 Art Prize

Ghanian born and UK-based contemporary artist John Akomfrah has been announced as the winner of UK’s leading prize for international contemporary art, Artes Mundi 7. The prize was announced by Ken Skates AM, Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure at the award ceremony, held at the National Museum Cardiff.

Akomfrah’s work often explores the global diaspora, history, memory, colonialism and its legacy through lens-based media. The range of single and multiscreen films allows us to reconsider the ways in which we think about both personal and collective histories, the grand narratives of our times, across nation states and continents. His work has often given voice to underrepresented communities and their universal stories told through the creation of sublime imagery, and evocative and immersive soundtracks.

He was awarded the Artes Mundi 7 prize for his film Auto Da Fé 2016, which focuses on religious persecution as a major cause of global displacement. The film links 8 interconnected mass migrations from the last 400 years, continuing his on going engagement with the themes of history, memory, globalisation, global diaspora, and colonialism and its legacy.

John Akomfrah, winner of Artes Mundi 7 said, “I am absolutely touched by this and enormously grateful for the chance it offers to finally finish off something I have been planning for over a decade. Over the years, Artes Mundi 7 has chosen some very brilliant artists for this award: all were important artists doing challenging and engaged work, and to join that group is a huge honour and responsibility.”

Speaking on his selection, Karen Mackinnon, Artes Mundi 7 Director said: “The Artes Mundi 7 Prize was awarded for Akomfrah’s presentation of Auto Da Fé and for a substantial body of outstanding work dealing with issues of migration, racism and religious persecution. To speak of these things in this particular moment feels more important than ever.”

John Akomfrah’s work alongside the other shortlisted works are on display at National Museum Cardiff and Chapter until February 26.


Photo Credit: Polly Thomas

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