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John Akomfrah's Vertigo Sea explores our relationship with the ocean

The artist and filmmaker's exhibit Vertigo Sea has been has been praised for connecting topics like migration, slavery, state violence and whaling.
An image from John Akomfrah's exhibit Vertigo Sea. (John Akomfrah)

The wide open sea is something we associate with freedom and opportunity. But the seas are also a place of danger, cruelty and exploitation.

That's something British filmmaker John Akomfrah explores in his film installation, Vertigo Sea.

First shown last year at the Venice Biennale, it was praised for connecting topics like migration, slavery, state violence and whaling.

And it feels all the more urgent now, as tens of thousands of migrants struggle to cross the Mediterranean in dangerous vessels. The United Nations estimates that more than 100 migrants have died in January alone.

Vertigo Sea is now on view at the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol, England. He also has new work on at the Lisson Gallery in London.

John Akomfrah poses for a portrait during the 2013 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. (Victoria Will/Invision/AP Images)

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