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5 star reviews & interviews with John Akomfrah for 'Listening All Night to The Rain', British Pavilion, Venice

25 April 2024

John Akomfrah presents his British Council commission 'Listening All Night To The Rain' for the British Pavilion at the 60th La Biennale di Venezia, on show until November 2024

Curated by Tarini Malik, ‘Listening All Night To the Rain’ is a deeply immersive exploration of diasporic experiences in Britain. Drawing title inspiration from Chinese poet Su Dongpo and employing multimedia installations, the exhibition weaves together narratives of migration, discrimination, and environmental impact. It pays homage to marginalized voices, including the Windrush generation, and reflects on pivotal moments in colonial and post-colonial history. Through visual and sonic storytelling, Akomfrah highlights the interconnectedness of cultural identity, history and environmental issues. The exhibition is accompanied by a cross-disciplinary public programme aimed at fostering global dialogue and amplifying diverse perspectives.

The Guardian’s art critic, Adrian Searle, published a 5 star review of the exhibition, writing:
Listening All Night to the Rain ups the ante – and Akomfrah uses some of his more familiar tropes as counterpoint in a nightmare of endless returns, not least to his decades-long themes and preoccupations. With its bigger histories and small vignettes, its lurches from the rock pool and the riverbed to scenes of insurrection, violence and racism, Akomfrah takes us on a magnificent and awful journey through six interconnecting, room-sized film installations (as well as to screens hung across the pavilion’s portico). Their repetitions have now achieved a cumulative power greater than the sum of the exhibition’s parts. His current work for Venice feels like a summation. Listening All Night to the Rain is more than immersive. It is unhinging, sorrowful and utterly captivating.

Read more of Adrian Searle's review at The Guardian here.

The exhibition has also been accompanied by further reviews, interviews and commentaries internationally, including:

The Observer
‘Another layer of pigment needed adding to the canvas’: artist John Akomfrah on changing the narrative, from Windrush to colonialism

The Independent 4*
British Pavilion at Venice Biennale review: John Akomfrah’s migrant journey is epic

Financial Times
Venice Biennale 2024 is a rapturous celebration of unfamiliar global artists

BBC Front Row
BBC Radio 4 - Front Row, Sir John Akomfrah, bicentenary of Byron's death and sped-up music

The Guardian
‘Not even a pipe dream’: John Akomfrah represents Britain at Venice Biennale

The Art Newspaper
John Akomfrah: ‘What are the histories, the questions, the narratives?’

Talk Art
John Akomfrah and Tarini Malik, presented by Burberry

Frieze Magazine
The Disenchanting World of John Akomfrah

Plaster Magazine
John Akomfrah in Venice: a long time coming

Tuesday 16 April 2024

Shade Art Review Podcast
March Art Review

The Guardian
'War, refugees, destruction': colonialism and conflict key themes of Venice Biennale

John Akomfrah explores the sonic for the British Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2024

Financial Times
Venice Biennale 2024 is a rapturous celebration of unfamiliar global artists

The Guardian
Armed guards, reparations and the lives of others: Venice Biennale 2024 – review

The Art Newspaper, The Week in Art Podcast
Venice Biennale Special

Show stoppers: John Akomfrah

John Akomfrah on Representing the UK at the 60th Venice Biennale

The Voice
It's all in the 'sonic'

John Akomfrah's British Pavilion Tackles the Environment

The Art Newspaper
Venice Biennale 2024: the must-see pavilions in the Giardini

NBC News
Venice Biennale titled 'Foreigners Everywhere' platforms LGBTQ, outsider and Indigenous artists

John Akomfrah RA's Listening All Night to the Rain for the British Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, commissioned by the British Council will run from 20 April – 24 November 2024. You can read more here.

5 star reviews & interviews with John Akomfrah for 'Listening All Night to The Rain', British Pavilion, Venice
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