Museums & galleries acquire 14-18 NOW commissioned works by Yinka Shonibare and John Akomfrah
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Museums & galleries acquire 14-18 NOW commissioned works by Yinka Shonibare and John Akomfrah
Installation view of Mimesis: African Soldier by John Akomfrah, co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, New Art Exchange, Nottingham and Smoking Dogs Films, with additional support from Sharjah Art Foundation. Photo © IWM / Film © Smoking Dogs Films.



LONDON.- 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary, and Art Fund have joined forces to support the acquisitions by public museums and galleries of two of 14-18 NOW’s major co-commissions: Yinka Shonibare CBE’s End of Empire and John Akomfrah’s Mimesis: African Soldier.

Yinka Shonibare CBE’s End of Empire will be acquired jointly by Bristol Museum & Art Gallery and Wolverhampton Art Gallery. End of Empire was originally co-commissioned by Turner Contemporary and 14-18 NOW, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

John Akomfrah’s Mimesis: African Soldier will be acquired by Glasgow Museums and Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. Mimesis: African Soldier was originally co-commissioned by New Art Exchange Nottingham, Smoking Dogs Films and 14-18 NOW, with support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Mimesis: African Soldier will be a powerful addition to Bristol and Glasgow Museums’ collection visibly telling the stories of people from the Commonwealth who were called on to serve in war for Britain and addresses a significant gap in the story about World War I in Glasgow Museums. In Wolverhampton the acquisition of End of Empire with Bristol will be a further boost to the collection of work focusing on the British Black Art movement and its legacy.

14-18 NOW’s contribution to the costs of the acquisitions is supported by Arts Council England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Jenny Waldman, Director of 14-18 NOW said: “We are delighted that these two works, which were both major commissions for our 14-18 NOW programme, will be acquired for public museums and galleries. This is an important legacy of 14-18 NOW and its support for projects which shine a light on the contribution which was made by soldiers from Commonwealth countries during the First World War.”

Stephen Deuchar, Director of Art Fund, said: ““These two works by artists John Akomfrah and Yinka Shonibare, commissioned by 14-18 NOW, have belatedly brought a focus - once shamefully ignored - upon the part played by Commonwealth countries in Britain’s national narrative, whether in combat or in the wider context of Empire. With the First World War centenary still fresh in the collective memory, Art Fund is proud to be helping secure these important works for Bristol Museum and Art Gallery and its partners to share with visitors in perpetuity.”

Councillor Craig Cheney, Deputy Mayor of Bristol, said: “These works will be major acquisitions for Bristol, Glasgow and Wolverhampton. They reflect on aspects of a shared history that is pertinent to our cities and can be difficult to discuss. John Akomfrah and Yinka Shonibare bring uncomfortable histories to light in unflinching, expansive works that communicate eloquently. It’s incredibly exciting to have a chance to work with these artists and we are grateful to Art Fund and 14-18 NOW for the generosity of these gifts. They continue a vital conversation in our cities and will have a permanent legacy in our museum collections. Joint acquisitions widen access to these important works and we’re delighted to be able to work as partners to bring work by these internationally acclaimed artists to our cities.”










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