Lisson Gallery

John Akomfrah in 'Entangled Pasts, 1768–now' at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK

5 February 2024

From 3 February to 28 April at the Royal Academy in London, 'Entangled Pasts, 1768–now' brings together over 100 major contemporary and historic works as part of a conversation about art and its role in shaping narratives of empire, enslavement, resistance, abolition and colonialism – and how it may help set a course for the future.

Artworks by leading contemporary British artists of the African, Caribbean and South Asian diasporas will be on display alongside works by artists from the past 250 years, creating connections across time which explore questions of power, representation and history. Informed by ongoing research of the RA and its colonial past, this exhibition engages around 50 artists connected to the RA to explore themes of migration, exchange, artistic traditions, identity and belonging.

Among the works included is John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea (2015) – a three-screen film installation that explores what Ralph Waldo Emerson called ‘the sublime seas’. Fusing archival material, readings from classical sources and newly shot footage, Akomfrah’s piece focuses on the disorder and cruelty of the whaling industry and juxtaposes it with shots of African migrants crossing the ocean in search of a better life, but instead, facing brutality and death at the hands of those in authority.course for the future.

Vertigo Sea premiered at the 56th Venice Biennale, Italy as part of Okwui Enwezor’s exhibition ‘All The World’s Futures’ in May 2015.

Find further information on 'Entangled Pasts' via The Royal Academy.

John Akomfrah in 'Entangled Pasts, 1768–now' at the Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
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