Context: Ayo Akingbade’s ‘A is for Artist’

Short Films

The inspiration behind A is for Artist:

Final sequence in Come Back Africa (1959):

I was transfixed on how the filmmaker was able to capture the hardship of black South Africans in Johannesburg so beautifully. Although I love Miriam Makeba’s iconic performance and its soundtrack, what really moved me was the ending, after Vinah’s (lady pictured) husband is killed tragically, she walks through the slums in a headstrong manner but her heart is heavy. I wanted to evoke the simple nature of walking as a form of self-care; it can carry a lot of emotion.

Julie Dash’s Four Women (1975):

Although the film is a series of performances, it inspired the sequence of me walking on the hill, which is in fact the same batch of green I shot Tower XYZ many moons ago. I am revisiting the site which reminds me a lot of my past.

An illustration from Erno Goldfinger (1944):

My work relates a lot to space, psychogeography and all. Although A is for Artist may seem a little different, it is in tune with my past works: In Ur Eye, Tower XYZ and Street 66. I don’t have much of a fascination with tower blocks, but growing up, all I saw was negative imagery of black people who live in London’s ‘ghettoes’. What about the people who are trying to get away from it in a way that is authentic which doesn’t involve drugs and crime?

A is for Artist will be screened as part of Is it Me or Is it The World? programme.

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