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Frieze to partner with the British Council, supporting the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia - FAD Magazine

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Frieze to partner with the British Council, supporting the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia

John Akomfrah at his London studio, 2016. © Smoking Dogs Films. Courtesy Smoking Dogs Films and Lisson Gallery

Today, Frieze revealed details of a new partnership in support of London-based artist John Akomfrah’s British Council Commission for the British Pavilion at the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, on view from 20th April – 24th November 2024.

Championing the artists, institutions, galleries, and non-profit organisations that comprise the British arts landscape has always been at the heart of what we do at Frieze. This year, in celebration of Frieze London’s 20th anniversary, we launched several initiatives, awards and institutional acquisition funds aimed at bolstering the United Kingdom’s culture sector, while also paying tribute to the wider arts ecosystem that sustains creative life globally. Our new partnership with the British Council feels like a natural extension of this core commitment, and we couldn’t be prouder to support John Akomfrah, a luminary of the contemporary British art scene, as he presents a new commission for La Biennale
di Venezia.

Eva Langret, Director of Frieze London,

The partnership expands Frieze’s series of collaborations with UK institutions, further demonstrating the
organisation’s commitment to providing key support for the non-profit sector. Frieze’s support will extend to dedicated content featuring the Pavilion as well amplification via its social channels.

We are delighted that Frieze is supporting the realisation of John Akomfrah’s solo presentation next year in Venice. Working with an organisation who champion and support a global ecology for the best contemporary art from one of the UK’s most creative cities is befitting for the presentation in 2024. I’m delighted that Frieze’s investment will enable another pioneering show in the award-winning British Pavilion.

Skinder Hundal, Director of Arts for the British Council

John Akomfrah, who was recently honoured with a knighthood in the 2023 UK Honours list, is known for his art films and multi-screen video installations, which explore major issues including racial injustice, colonial legacies, diasporic identities, migration and climate change.

Akomfrah was selected to represent Great Britain at the Biennale Arte by an advisory panel of leading visual arts professionals from across the UK, chaired by Skinder Hundal (Global Director of Arts, British Council) and featuring: Mariam Zulfiqar (Director, Artangel), Ekow Eshun (Curator and Editor-in-Chief, Tank), Melissa Appleton (Director of Programme Peak Cymru and de Appel Curatorial Fellow 2023), Kim
McAleese (Director, Edinburgh Art Festival), Melanie Pocock (Acting Artistic Director, Exhibitions, Ikon),
Khanyisile Mbongwa (Curator, Liverpool Biennial) and Emma Ridgway (Director, The Foundling Museum,
and Shane Akeroyd (Associate Curator, British Pavilion, La Biennale di Venezia 2022).

The British Council has been responsible for the British Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia since 1937,
showcasing the best of the UK’s artists, architects, designers and curators. These International Exhibitions, and the British Council’s Venice Fellowships initiative introduced in 2016, help make the British Pavilion a major platform for discussion about contemporary art and architecture.

About the artist

John Akomfrah (born 1957) lives and works in London, he is a respected artist and filmmaker, whose works are characterised by their investigations into memory, post-colonialism, temporality and aesthetics and often explore the experiences of migrant diasporas globally. Akomfrah was a founding member of the influential Black Audio Film Collective, which started in London in 1982 alongside artists David Lawson and Lina Gopaul, who he still collaborates with today. Akomfrah was awarded the Artes Mundi Prize in 2017 and received a Knighthood for services to the Arts in the 2023 New Year Honours.

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