sir john akomfrah

Sir John Akomfrah

Position: Artist and writer
Categories: Creative Industry, Personal Profile

Sir John Akomfrah is a Ghanaian-born British artist, filmmaker, and writer. He  is noted for his avant-garde approach to cinema as well as his commitment to radical politics. Akomfrah co-founded the Black Audio Film Collective in 1982, with the goal of exploring Black British identity through film and media. In 1986, he made his directorial debut with “Handsworth Songs,” a critically acclaimed documentary on the aftermath of the 1985 Handsworth riots. In 1987, the film received the Grierson Award for Best Documentary.

Akomfrah’s work spans three decades and covers wide range of topics such as race, identity, migration, and post-colonialism. His films and installations frequently use archival footage and poetic and thought-provoking storytelling approaches. Akomfrah’s artistic vision challenges cultural standards and engages audiences profoundly.

Akomfrah has made important contributions to academia in addition to his movie career. He has taught at number of notable universities, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brown University, and Princeton University. His work has been shown and acclaimed worldwide, including pieces in the permanent collections of major museums across the world.

Numerous medals and honors have been bestowed to Akomfrah’s artistic achievements. For his achievements to the arts, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2008 and a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2017. He was knighted in 2023 for his distinguished career and contributions to the arts. Sir John Akomfrah’s captivating and original approach to filmmaking and art continues to inspire and encourage audiences worldwide.