Courtesy of Lisson Gallery, London. © Smoking Dogs Films. Photo: Jack Hems


John Akomfrah’s works are characterised by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics and often explores the experiences of migrant diasporas globally.

Akomfrah’s work has been screened and exhibited at a number of institutions, including Towner Eastbourne, UK (2021); Fundació Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona (2021); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla, Spain (2020); Seattle Art Museum (2020); Secession, Vienna (2020); New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK (2019); BALTIC, Gateshead, UK (2019); ICA Boston, US (2019); Museu Coleção Berardo, Lisbon (2018); Imperial War Museum, London (2018); New Museum, New York (2018); Thyssen-Bornemisza National Collection, Madrid (2018); Nasher Museum at Duke University, Durham, US (2018); Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden (2015, 2018); Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK (2017); SFMOMA, San Francisco (2017); Barbican, London (2017); Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne (2017); Triennale di Milano (2017); Museum of Modern Art, New York (2011, 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 (2007, 2016); 56th Venice Biennale (2015); Sharjah Biennial 11 (2013); Taipei Biennial (2012); Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (2012); Liverpool Biennial (2012); Serpentine Gallery, London (2010); Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris (2005) and documenta 11, Kassel (2002).

He has also participated in several group exhibitions, including Posteriority, Museum of Contemporary Art Busan, (2021); Am I Human To You?, Art Museum KUBE, Norway (2021); Affect Machine: Self-healing in the Post-Capitalist Era, Taipaei Fine Arts Museum (2021); Ghana Pavilion, 58th Venice Biennale (2019); Strange Days: Memories of the Future, New Museum x The Store, London (2018); and Prospect 4, New Orleans (2017).

He is a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective (1982–1998) and its offshoot, the film and television production company and artist studio Smoking Dogs Films (1998–present).

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.

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

SAF participation:
March Meeting 2022
Sharjah Biennial 11 and 15
March Meeting 2018

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For details of the Sharjah Biennial 15 Opening Week programme, click here.