THE John Curtin Gallery will present Australia’s first solo show by acclaimed Ghanaian-born British film artist John Akomfrah as part of the Perth International Arts Festival.
The exhibition includes the Australian premiere of new film installation, Auto Da Fé, for the visual arts program of the festival.
The exhibition, which opens February 7, will showcase Auto Da Fé alongside Vertigo Sea which received many accolades at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Akomfrah’s new work, Auto Da Fé, is a fictional narrative looking at migration across four centuries.
Putting the current refugee crisis into historical context, it highlights the connections between religion, persecution and migration.
As a migrant himself, Akomfrah’s art has long explored themes of migration and persecution.
John Curtin Gallery director Chris Malcolm said the artist had very specific technical requirements that would ensure Akomfrah’s artworks will be presented in Perth with unprecedented visual sophistication.
“The gallery will present John Akomfrah’s two immersive film installations in two large dedicated rooms more akin to a cinematic environment that will provide visitors with an intensely emotional experience,” he said.
The artist has described the work as a eulogy, commemorating lives lost at sea.
Mr Malcolm suggested Perth audiences would be deeply moved by Vertigo Sea.
“The plight of millions of displaced people across the globe sadly is common knowledge and remains an enduring crisis for humanity,” he said.
“Similarly, the injustices of the past of how we treat others, although increasingly acknowledged, also still persist.
“Globally, we are at a tipping point in how we treat our only habitat which all of humanity share, and in this way Akomfrah’s work confronts our complacency in the face of such obvious imbalance and injustice in a quietly seductive yet gut-wrenching manner.”