BA (Hons) Film Practice graduate Ayo Akingbade has been heiled as an up-and-coming artist to watch, having been selected for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018.

Hackney-born filmmaker and artist Ayo is one of 57 new artists selected as part of the prestigious showcase – with her work exhibiting in a group show currently showing in Liverpool and set to come to London later in the year.

Ayo’s selection for New Contemporaries continues her upward trajectory since graduating from London College of Communication, having previously been selected for the Sundance Institute Ignite Fellowship 2018 – securing a place at the festival and a year-long mentorship with the prestigious institute.

Still taken from film by Ayo Akingbade

In addition, her film ‘Tower XYZ’ won the inaugural Sonja Savić Award at Alternative Film/Video Festival, received a Special Mention Award at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen, and was screened at BFI Southbank.

We caught up with Ayo to hear about her reaction to being selected and to get an update about her Sundance fellowship…

How does it feel to have been selected for New Contemporaries and what you hope to achieve through the selection?

Very happy, it is an amazing opportunity. I am glad that my work is being exposed to a different audience and in a completely new setting. Meeting artist Keith Piper (one of the selectors) at the New Contemporaries launch at Liverpool Biennial was a highlight.

I hope the selection grants more exposure which will help my steady pursuit of being an authentic artist and building great friendships with other selected artists.

How is your Sundance Fellowship going so far?

I am so grateful to be part of the fellowship, I was in Los Angeles last month and I had such fun. It was nice catching up with the fellows and the masterclasses were so impactful. My mentor, Kristina Goolsby is like the best person ever!

One thing I learnt is one’s journey is unique, so centre your weirdness, it is your selling point.

How do you think your time at LCC prepared you for these types of opportunities?

LCC taught me that making films is my true calling and that you have be vigorous in your art and in life. Everything is concentric.

What advice would you give to other aspiring filmmakers studying at LCC?

Stop making sense and just do! The first step is just creating work you want to see. No questions, no buts.

Still from ‘Street 66’ by Ayo Akingbade

What are some recent and forthcoming projects you’re working on?

I recently finished working as a director’s assistant for a feature film and I am currently working hard on my upcoming film, Dear Babylon. We start filming in a few months which is going to be exciting.

I’m a bit nervous because the film is by far the most ambitious and speculative project I have pitched to date. But overall, I have nothing but good thoughts and know the completed film will rock!

And what’s next?

I start graduate school in the fall which a year ago I probably would not even thought of doing in London.

One long-term goal is continuing to conquer fear, “courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it” that was said by Nelson Mandela. And to believe in my own resilience, no matter how many setbacks I come across I am still actively dreaming the best version of myself.

Ayo’s working is part of ‘Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2018′, currently showing at Liverpool School of Art & Design and Liverpool John Moores University from 14 July 2018 to 9 September 2018. The show will come to South London Gallery from 5 Dec 2018 to 24 Feb 2019.

See more on Ayo’s website.

Lead image: Elzbieta Piekacz