• Rasha Kotaiche

John Akomfrah


Bio: British-Ghanaian disciplinary : Photographer, filmmaker, artist, writer, theorist...

Mimesis: African Soldier


Feeling a moral obligation Akomfrah made this piece to be factual, educational and representational of a history ignored. Rather than looking through tinted glass, romanticising the people or the war, he shows the past for what it is and simply aims to give these people recognition. He makes connections between past and present through the footage.


Exhibition :

3 or more large screens used to show a film piece built of archival video footage and newly shot footage.

Similar to other work:



  • repeat clips at different intervals, on a different screen?

  • Scale a clip in to focus on a specific detail


John Akomfrah is a British-Ghanaian is a multi-disciplinary artist and writer, whose work is characterised through his investigation of memory, post-colonialism and temporality. His work Mimesis: African Soldier is an installation piece dedicated to the African soldiers, labourers and carriers who died in the war. Akomfrah used archived material and newly shot film, spread across three large screens.

Akomfrah has featured in many discussions about the installation, in which he discusses remembrance. He exclaims how he does not work looking through rose tinted glass, but by showing and recognising what the past really was and is, and how he likes to make connections between the past and the present. He produced this work as a moral obligation to bring to life the historical facts of what is often ignored when the “great war” is taught and spoken of, and how its often portrayed to be an entirely european affair; this is not the case, which Akomfrah shows through the use of the archival material.

The way Akomfrah talks about his work, and his aims through the use of archival material and newly shot footage helped guide the way I produced my own piece; how to think about it and how to avoid romanticising the topic at hand when talking about past and remembrance.