in Collaborations | 08 OCT 20
Featured in
Issue 214

Introducing ‘Our Skin Is A Monument I’

A new, limited edition made by John Akomfrah for Frieze 

in Collaborations | 08 OCT 20

Introducing a new, limited edition by John Akfomfrah in support of the Frieze x Deutsche Bank Emerging Curators Fellowship for UK-based Black and POC emerging curators. Sixty percent of sales will benefit the Fellowship, established in collaboration with the Chisenhale Gallery.  

This artwork, Our Skin Is a Monument I (2020), which first appeared on the cover of the October 2020 issue of frieze magazine, incorporates a promotional still from Carmen Jones (1954), starring Harry Belafonte and Dorothy Dandridge. The still is placed into a Shirley card, a reference device used since the 1940s in colour-film technology to calibrate skin-colour balance. For decades, Shirley cards only used white models to set their parameters, dramatically affecting how Black skin would be rendered on film. 

Our Skin builds on John Akomfrah’s work around monuments since the 1980s, drawing on the poet Caroline Randall Williams’ astonishing essay, ‘My Body is a Confederate Monument’ – first published in The New York Times before it was widely circulated on social media. ‘If there are those who want to remember the legacy of the Confederacy,’ she writes, ‘if they want monuments, well, then, my body is a monument. My skin is a monument.’ 

This edition comes with a signed certificate of authentication.

Purchase the edition now