The Unfinished Conversation

John Akomfrah
The Unfinished Conversation, 2012
Three-channel colour video projection with sound
Digital Betacam video, 4K digital files, 35 mm photographs,
16 mm super 8 film
46 minutes
Installation view


In his gallery installations as well as stand-alone films, artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah explores the histories and legacies of the African diaspora in Europe, considering issues of identity, memory and displacement. Known as a pioneer of black British cinema, Akomfrah bases much of his work on research from historical archives, which he employs to create works that speculate on both the past and the future.

Akomfrah’s work has been screened and exhibited at a number of venues, including the SFMOMA , San Francisco (2017) , Thyssen Bornemisza National Collection (2018 ), Barbican, London (2017); Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (2017); MOMA , New York (2017 )Triennale di Milano, Milan (2017); University of New South Wales, Paddington, Australia (2016); Turner Contemporary, Margate, UK (2016); Nikolaj Kunsthal, Copenhagen (2016); STUK Kunstcentrum, Leuven, Belgium (2016); Arnolfini, Bristol, UK (2016); 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013); Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (2012); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2012); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011); Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, UK (2007); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005) and documenta 11, Kassel, Germany (2002).

Akomfrah has received numerous awards and honours, including the British Film Institute’s John Grierson Award for Documentary in 1987. In 2017, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In 1982, he was a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective, an arts initiative known for its award-winning experimental works.

Born in 1957 in Accra, Ghana, Akomfrah currently lives and works in London.

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