John Akomfrah: Precarity 

Prospect.4 Triennial: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, New Orleans, LA

November 18, 2017 – February 25, 2018

Production | Acquisition Grant

This work was gifted to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University through the support of VIA Art Fund.

Precarity is a newly commissioned, three-channel video work by John Akomfrah, a pioneer in film and video art since the 1980s and 2017 winner of the UK’s esteemed Artes Mundi Prize. Precarity is his second, multi-media video work in a four-part series of inquiry and reflection into enigmatic lives projected against their historical backdrops. It tells the story of the history and legacy of Buddy Bolden, the commonly-acknowledged founder of jazz in New Orleans whose life is shrouded in mystery, captured through the use of both documentary material and imagery, and reconstructed dramatic scenes. Presented as a triptych, Precarity includes simultaneous experimental narratives about Bolden, American culture, and the development of jazz around the themes of memory and the dynamic environment of New Orleans as a creative force.

Prospect.4: The Lotus in Spite of the Swamp, curated by Trevor Schoonmaker, was the fourth edition of the New Orleans international triennial exhibition which was open to the public from November 18, 2017 through February 28, 2018. Prospect exhibits local, national, and international work around the discourse of contemporary visual art through sites and spaces in New Orleans.  

To learn more, visit Prospect New Orleans.

Images: John Akomfrah, Precarity, 2017, Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound, Dimensions variable, © Smoking Dogs Films; Courtesy Lisson Gallery