Arcadia (2023)

John Akomfrah
5-channel digital video, b/w, colour and sound
45 minutes
Commissioned by The Box, Plymouth City Council; co-commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation and Hartwig Art Foundation, Amsterdam; generously supported by Polygreen Culture and Art Initiative (PCAI), Piraeus, Greece, and the Arts Council England
Courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery, London
© Smoking Dogs Films


Through his experimentation with the moving image, John Akomfrah delves into themes of memory, identity, postcolonialism, temporality and the politics of aesthetics. Tackling the ecological implications of settler colonialism, extractive capitalism and the extinction of microorganisms, the multi-screen installation Arcadia (2023) digs into the oral as well as representational history of various Indigenous cultures. In the five-channel video Becoming Wind (2023), located on the first floor, Akomfrah restitutes an allegorical representation of Eden, moving from a time when munificent species abounded to the decline of the human-centred ecosystem. The photographic series The Wounding Light (2023) continues Akomfrah’s poetic recombination of landscape photography and historical paintings.