Mimesis: African Soldier

Opening: 14-18 NOW 2018 Season / Making A New World – Imperial War Museum London, September 2018

Three channel HD colour video installation, 7.1 sound

73 minutes

Director: John Akomfrah

Producers: Lina Gopaul, Ashitey Akomfrah and David Lawson

“We have obligations to the dead.” Carlo Ginzburg

The First World War was waged between empires that were global in their ambitions and reach. Between 1914 and 1918, more than 6 million African and colonial soldiers, labourers, auxiliaries , porters and carriers served in long campaigns that spanned the whole of the African and European continents, contributing to victories throughout the First World War.

Soldiers from the British and French African territories were brought to Europe’s western front, where hundreds and thousands lost their lives alongside unknown, unheralded and undocumented African labourers and carriers.

They came as professional soldiers, conscripts, labourers, factory workers, field workers, trench and railway builders, lumberjacks, mechanics, clerks, nurses, administrators and a myriad of other ancillary jobs needed to keep the war going.

Mimesis: African Soldier seeks to commemorate these African and colonial participants who fought, served and perished during the First World War.

Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, New Art Exchange, Nottingham and Smoking Dogs Films. With additional production support from Sharjah Art Foundation.