Only one week left to see John Akomfrah’s startling exhibition on World War One

Only one week left to see John Akomfrah’s startling exhibition on World War One

Posted on: 02 Jan 2023

‘Memesis: African Soldier’, an original exhibition from respected artist and filmmaker John Akomfrah will run at Bristol Museum & Art Gallery until this Sunday only.


The deeply affecting exhibition will run until Sunday 8 January.


Through a stunning blend of archive and original footage, Akomfrah’s show uncovers the often-overlooked story of the Commonwealth troops who volunteered to fight in the First World War, the deadliest war to date and one waged by their colonial masters.


This is a ‘pay what you can’ event and visitors can pre-book tickets here



In this exhibition, Akomfrah incorporates archival photographs of African and Asian soldiers carrying out everyday activities like digging trenches with specially filmed footage imagining the men as they leave their families before heading into the unknown.


The piece will be accompanied by a soundtrack that blends traditional African and Indian music with new compositions, allowing Akomfrah to present a multidisciplinary look at an often forgotten, or overlooked, piece of First World War history.


Speaking about the exhibition, the artist has said: “The most important thing for me, the takeaway, is that African soldiers fought in this war, that they played a variety of roles in the war as foot soldiers, as carriers. 


“Every facet, every avenue, every job in the war, if you look long enough, you will see someone of either Asian or African origin/heritage in that role.”



‘Memesis: African Soldier’ was commissioned by 14–18 NOW, the UK's arts programme for the First World War centenary, and featured in the Imperial War Museum to mark the war’s centenary.


The piece’s artist, John Akomfrah, is a greatly respected British-Ghanaian artist whose work often confronts and explores topics such as memory, post-colonialism, temporality, and aesthetics and often explores the experiences of migrant diasporas globally.


Akomfrah’s radical approach to his craft and focus on film and multichannel video installations has helped to establish his reputation as one of the country’s most pioneering filmmakers, making this an exhibition not to miss.

‘Memesis: African Soldier’ runs at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery from Saturday 1 October until Sunday 8 January, with entry being pay what you can. Find out more here.


To find out what else is coming up at the museum visit the website.

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Article by:

Stanley Gray

Stan is a born and bred Bristolian, recently graduated from studying English Literature in Sheffield. His passions are music and literature and he spends the majority of his time in venues all over the city, immersing himself in Bristol’s alternative music scene. A lifelong Bristol City fan, Stan’s Saturdays are spent watching his team both home and away.