What kind of a year has 2023 been for you?

2023 has been an eventful year, I released my first artist publication with Chisenhale Gallery and Book Works and I have travelled a fair bit. Show Me The World Mister toured to Spike Island Bristol and John Hansard Gallery in Southampton and now it’s at BALTIC, Gateshead. I have been reading and writing a lot and planting seeds (literally and metaphysically). It has also been a year where I had a lot of contemplation on my artistic career thus far and was ready to make a few changes. I have noticed everything is concentric, situations in life and work are in tangent.

What has changed for the better?

Change is such a provocative term because I think it is quite subjective on who is the giver and the receiver. I’d like change to happen overnight due to my inquisitive and impatient disposition however that sadly isn’t the case! With every year, I become older and wiser so that’s a plus.

Ayo Akingbade, Faluyi, installation view, Spike Island, Bristol, 2022. Courtesy the artist. Photograph by Dan Weill

What do you wish had happened this year that hadn’t happened?

I wanted to spend a period of time in Los Angeles and Lagos and I couldn’t, and there was this car I wanted to buy. So let’s hope in 2024 I do all of those things. On an important note, the slashing of arts funding by the British government is something that seems to be happening every year and I would like for artists to be supported more. The status of public funding is dire, which makes things very unstable for many who need it the most. The obvious solution of private investment seems also a bit bleak and hardly trickles down to the artist.

Ayo Akingbade, Show Me The World Mister. Image courtesy: Good Press

What would you characterise as your major achievement this year and why?

Going to New York twice to premiere Jitterbug at New Directors/New Films in March and then The Fist in October for the New York Film Festival was cool because I like going to film festivals and the programmers always curate films I am excited to check out. It was also major to see The Fist included at this year’s Viennale.

Putting on my professional hat, being nominated for the Jarman Award was an achievement. Finally I would say finishing Keep Looking, a short film I shot a couple of years ago, is another mission brilliantly accomplished.

Ayo Akingbade, Faluyi, film still, 2022. Courtesy of artist.

What would make 2024 a better year than 2023?
To be able to tick off most of my New Year resolutions and just keep, keeping on with an ample mix of peaceful joyfulness! I sense it will be a good year.