Akeem Smith

One last cry

Exhibition from 18 Oct to 20 Nov 2023

3 months ago

Akeem Smith's exhibition, One last cry, is an assemblage of memories.

The artist has compiled a collection of artefacts, including VHS tapes, rare photos and clothing, from various Afro-Caribbean social scenes connected to Dancehall, a musical movement born in Jamaica in the late ‘70s. Smith revisits these objects to offer them new life, and  to preserve what once was.

Smith’s formal approach is informed by the “architecture of necessity” (Ernesto Oroza, For an Architecture of Necessity and Disobedience), a type of informal construction produced in response to individual or collective needs. His work thus celebrates customised alterations made in neighbourhoods and homes in response to political and economical restrictions. 

The exhibition presents works made of salvaged materials from Kingston, Jamaica. These transplanted shanty fragments, with their origins still visible, are transformed and embellished with fine details, reconfigured with new purpose.

In the staircases, the visitor is accompanied by a soundtrack made of samples pulled from Smith’s personal recordings. The exhibition brings together a new series of sculptures, the result of a production residency at Lafayette Anticipations, with Dovecote, a 2020 two-channel video work. Both works enable resurrect forms and hold a sacred function as protective vessels,  testaments of Smith’s practice of archival custodianship. 

Curator: Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel

In partnership with Télérama

With special thanks to the gallery Heidi, Berlin.

Cover image credit: Dovecote, Akeem Smith, 2020 © Pierre Antoine

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For the first edition of Paris+ par Art Basel in 2022, the Galeries Lafayette group has supported the Galeries Emergentes sector. Akeem Smith has been the first artist selected for a residency at Lafayette Anticipations, realising new works with the support of the Fondation’s production teams. 

Akeem Smith, One last cry © Pierre Antoine
Akeem Smith, One last cry © Pierre Antoine
Akeem Smith, One last cry © Pierre Antoine