'John Akomfrah: Purple' at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C., USA
1 February 2023
From 18 November, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden will present 'John Akomfrah: Purple', featuring the artist’s largest ever video installation. The exhibition brings Akomfrah’s immersive six-channel work to Washington D.C. for the first time.
An enveloping, hour-long symphony of image and sound, Purple (2017) weaves together original film with archival footage against a hypnotic score to address themes related to climate change. Surveying a variety of disappearing landscapes, including parts of Alaska, Greenland, the Tahitian Peninsula and the South Pacific’s volcanic Marquesas Islands, Akomfrah conveys the interconnected relationship between the built and natural worlds in the Anthropocene. His striking images of these vulnerable environments mingle with historical recordings of coal mines, polluted lakes and factory labor, set against a resonant soundtrack of original music, archival recordings and spoken word. These elements come together to form a moving meditation on the impact of human progress on the Earth.
On 20 April 2023, Akomfrah will join Hirshhorn associate curator Marina Isgro and African Art senior curator Karen Milbourne in conversation to discuss the role of art in addressing social and political crises—from the climate crisis, as addressed in Purple, to the worldwide reckoning with racism and the COVID pandemic, as explored in Five Murmurations, as well as what it means to have exhibitions in these two institutions.
Find further information here.
Image: John Akomfrah, Purple, 2017 (film still), 6 channel HD colour video installation with 15.1 surround sound, 62 minutes © Smoking Dogs Films