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John Akomfrah: Ballasts of Memory

6th July–27 October 2019, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art
John Akomfrah The Unfinished Conversation, 2012. Three channel video installation, 7.1 sound 45 minutes 48 seconds. © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery. Photography by Toni Hafkenscheid

The BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art (Newcastle) presents 'Ballasts of Memory', a new exhibition of work by artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah. The exhibition includes Akomfrah's 2012 video installation The Unfinished Conversation, which journeys through Stuart Hall's personal archive to explore themes of memory, identity, immigration and history. 


Since the early 1980s, Akomfrah’s moving image works have offered some of the most rigorous and expansive reflections on the culture of the black diaspora, both in the UK and around the world.

Akomfrah’s work initially came to prominence in the early 1980s as part of the Black Audio Film Collective, a group of seven artists founded in 1982 in response to the 1981 Brixton riots. In recent years, his multichannel video works have evolved into ambitious, multi-screen installations shown in galleries and museums around the world. This exhibition presents a selection of existing works alongside a related film programme. Ballasts of Memory includes the European premiere of Precarity, which tells the story of Charles "Buddy" Bolden, the African American cornetist and key figure in the development of jazz music.

John Akomfrah The Unfinished Conversation, 2012. Three channel video installation, 7.1 sound 45 minutes 48 seconds. © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery. Photography by Toni Hafkenscheid