John Akomfrah in Artes Mundi 7
5 January 2017
Artes Mundi 7, the seventh edition of the UK’s leading biennial art prize, presents a major exhibition of seminal and new works by shortlisted artists from 21 October 2016 to 26 February 2017 at the National Museum Cardiff and Chapter, Cardiff. The winner of the prize will be announced on 26 January.
Shortlisted for his engagement with contemporary social issues across the globe, John Akomfrah presents Auto Da Fé (2016), a two-screen film installation that debuted at Lisson Gallery London in January 2016. Auto Da Fé, which translates as 'acts of faith', looks at migration through the lens of religious persecution. Presented as a poetic period drama,the film presents a series of eight historical migrations over the last 400 years, starting with the little known 1654 fleeing of Sephardic Jews from Catholic Brazil to Barbados. As the film develops, we are presented with tale after tale of populations being displaced along religiouslines, right up to the present day migrations from Hombori, Mali and Mosul, Iraq. Religion,persecution and migration are, it seems, old and continuing bedfellows. The work was filmed on location in Barbados, but the landscape is deliberately anonymous, reflecting the universal nature of these stories.
Other artists shortlisted for the prize include Neïl Beloufa, Amy Franceschini, Lamia Joreige, Nástio Mosquito, Hito Steyerl and Bedwyr Williams.
For more information on Artes Mundi 7, please visit www.artesmundi.org/exhibitions-prizes/artes-mundi-7.