Ayo Akingbade – Love Letters to E9
Recorded in the winter of 2020, ‘Love Letters to E9’ (2021) continues Ayo Akingbade’s poetic meditation on urbanism and the ways in which the built environment shapes and influences individual character. “The geography and architecture of Hackney are reflections of my sense of identity,” says Akingbade, whose work looks back on community histories and personal legacies deeply connected to the metropolis, specifically inner London.‘Love Letters to E9’ accompanies childhood friends - Akingbade and Lané Frederick - sitting at Well Street Common. They reminisce on the defining years of their early childhood, recalling the positivity of school days; feelings of freedom, happiness and optimism for what the future might hold. Their conversation addresses their youthful dreams and desires, recalling early 2000s pop music, friendships and minor local landmarks the playground, a primary school pond that has since disappeared – small reveries of collective significance that they struggle to piece together through fragments of shared memory.Their talk is occasionally offset by the everyday sounds of present-day Hackney; a fuzzy contemporary soundtrack that underscores the difference and distance between their mental landscape and the urban space that now surrounds them. “I don’t want to talk about gentrification” says Akingbade, but it is the relentless transformation and constant erasure enacted by this practice that resonates just beneath the surface of their exchange, articulated through a sense of (dis)locatedness and uncertainty for the future, both for themselves and the local community.‘Love Letters to E9’ contemplates coming of age in a city that is constantly regenerating and remaking itself, reflecting on the passing of time with a quiet, undramatic poignancy.With thanks to Lané Frederick.Original music by Oliver Palfreyman.Sound recording by Kim Bradfield.Mix by Oliver Palfreyman.© Ayo Akingbade--Ayo Akingbade is an artist, director and writer from London. She works predominantly with moving image, addressing notions of urbanism, power and stance. She has exhibited and screened widely, including presentations at Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (2020); ‘This is England’, Somerset House Studios, London (2019); ‘Building Space’, South London Gallery (2019); ‘In formation’, Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, (2018); and ‘Imagination Is Power: Be Realistic, Ask the Impossible’, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, (2018); as well as Birkbeck University (2020), and Instituto Tomie Ohtake, São Paulo (2020) amongst others. Akingbade graduated with a BA in Film Practice from London College of Communication and is due to graduate with a postgraduate diploma in Fine Art from Royal Academy Schools in 2021. Forthcoming projects include ‘A Glittering City’, Whitechapel Gallery (2021) and ‘No News Today’, Coventry Biennial (2021).