London SE1 community website

John Akomfrah


This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.

Mnemosyne by celebrated British filmmaker and artist John Akomfrah (b.1957) is a powerful new film installation which focuses on the experience of migrant labour in the UK - a poetic essay on the themes of memory and migration.

To make it Akomfrah combined newly shot footage with archive material from the various television and film archive libraries.

Mnemosyne refers to the mother of the nine Muses, the personification of memory in Greek mythology. Akomfrah's work questions memory and suggest the possibility for endless re-interpretation of historical events by interweaving archival footage from 1952 to 1981 with contemporary 'portraits' of Britain and extracts of new work filmed in a remote snowy landscape.

Often referred to as 'film essays', Akomfrah's work involves the creation of quasi-fictional scenarios, a questioning of the evidence found in archival material. For Mnemosyne, he used the BBC archives as a starting point to explore attitudes, assumptions and understandings about life in the West Midlands during a key moment in Britain's immigrant history.

Snatches of Homer's Iliad with its themes of journeying, alienation, reconciliation and memory are narrated in voiceover through the nine 'chapters' of the film each section named for one of the Muses.



BFI Southbank
Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XT
infowhat's on @map

This belongs to

This event is in the past. This is an archive page for reference.
Keep up with SE1 news

We have three email newsletters for you to choose from:

We are part of
Independent Community News Network
Email newsletter

For the latest local news and events direct to your inbox every Monday, you need our weekly email newsletter SE1 Direct.

7,000+ locals read it every week. Can you afford to miss out?

Read the latest issue before signing up