Menu

  • Art
  • Lifestyle
  • Fashion
  • Design
  • Sustainability
  • Homepage
  • Whitewall Presents
  • Whitewaller
  • Insiders

Subscribe to the Newsletter

Subscribe to the Magazine

Presents

New York

Lucy Bull: Piper

Newsletter

Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.

Ok
John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.
John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.
John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.
John Akomfrah at his London studio, 2016, photo by Jack Hems, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.
John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.
Art

John Akomfrah Addresses Climate Change at the Hirshhorn Museum 

By Erica Silverman

August 11, 2022

On October 28, the Hirshhorn Museum will open an exhibition by the groundbreaking artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. Entitled “Purple” (2017), the exhibition marks an inaugural showing in Washington D.C., presenting the artist’s largest video installation to date. Addressing the global devastation of climate change, the film was curated by Marina Isgro, Associate Curator of media and performance art.

“John Akomfrah has a singular way of addressing weighty philosophical and social issues while generating a powerful emotional pull that absorbs you completely,” Isgro said. “With its immersive visuals and sound, Purple gives viewers an access point into the conversation around climate change, which can sometimes feel overwhelming.”

Open Gallery

John Akomfrah at his London studio, 2016, photo by Jack Hems, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

London-based Akomfrah is known for his creative probing of post-colonialism and global migrant diasporas with memory, impermanence, and the philosophy of art. As a founding member of the Black Audio Film Collective in 1982, documenting racial inequalities in the United Kingdom, Akomfrah has been a long-time creator of the most critical works in film history. 

“Purple” fuses original film with archival footage and a mesmerizing score. The artist explores the currently fading lands of Alaska, Greenland, the Tahitian Peninsula and the South Pacific’s volcanic Marquesas Islands, set against historical imagery, original music, and spoken word. The overwhelming impact of human progress on earth becomes visible. 

Open Gallery

John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

“I want people to be aware of the ways in which their lives are touched by things unseen and bear witness to these creeping environmental disasters and emergencies,” Akomfrah said. “I think the there is a special significance of the Hirshhorn’s proximity to the major center of power on our planet—the spaces in which key decisions need to be made in environmental policy in the United States—and I hope the questions that Purple raises about the environmental crisis we are living through today are ones that can be understood and appreciated by all without partisanship.”

Open Gallery

John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

Inside the Hirshhorn Museum, the film will be presented on six screens. Purple carpeting on the floors and walls of the space creates a beguiling and pensive atmosphere. The special project was co-acquired by Hirshhorn and the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston last year.

Open Gallery

John Akomfrah, "Purple," 2017, 62 minutes, 6 channel HD color video installation with 15.1 surround sound; © Smoking Dogs Films, courtesy of Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery.

“We are proud to debut this masterful recent acquisition to audiences in the nation’s capital,” said Melissa Chiu, Director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. “John Akomfrah’s poetic narrative is a powerful reminder that our personal relationship and our environment is also global. Installing 'Purple’ at the Hirshhorn, on the National Mall, heightens the artwork’s potential to inspire conversations among and between citizens and leadership.”

ExhibitionsHirshhorn MuseumJohn AkomfrahWashington DCWhat to See

Recommended

Our ValuesContactAdvertiseTerms
© Whitewall 2020

Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.

Subscribe to the Newsletter