Conceptual artist Baff Akoto calls us to action with THE LOVE AND… THE MAGIC, a poignant moving image work which will permeate the uniquely modernist space of Saint Boniface German Catholic Church throughout the evening. Inspired by the now ancestral words of Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison, Akoto brings to light our collective possibilities in the face of the immeasurable, a quiet cry for help in a dysfunctional world, criticising corporate and geo-political commodification against the interests of the natural world, the individual and the traditionally marginalised.
The programme will feature THE LOVE AND… THE MAGIC (3-channel, HD video) on rotation, punctuated by three improvised ‘performance interventions’ led by Mercury-nominated composer ESKA riffing on the words of Toni Morrison and Audre Lorde who both inspired Akoto’s artwork.
Baff Akoto is shortlisted for the 2022 Aesthetica Art Prize for his work LEAVE THE EDGES. He is part of the 2022 cohorts for both The London Open triennial at Whitechapel Gallery and the 13th Bamako Biennial of African Photography. In 2021 he was a resident of the Guest Projects Digital programme delivered by the Yinka Shonibare Foudation.
Raised in Accra and London, he began his career in documentaries as a director and producer, before going on to direct dramas for Channel 4 and the BBC, leading to his inclusion on Idris Elba’s BBC New Talent Hotlist. Tipped as a “Star of Tomorrow” by Screen International in 2018 Baff has forged a path as a visual artist mentored by renowned artist John Akomfrah and the Oscar-winning Royal College of Art alumnus Asif Kapadia.
Baff’s work has been exhibited by the Tribeca Film Institute, London’s Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) and the British Film Institute (BFI) in their Experimenta strand for “works by artists that revolutionise and reshape our vision of the cinematic moving image”. His work embraces the fluidity of visual grammar, notions of plurality and (self) perceptions. Most recently Baff explores the artistic potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality to interrogate how the digital revolution might avoid the same prejudices, exclusions and inequalities which arose from our industrial and colonial eras.
In August 2021 Akoto opened UP:RISE nationwide ( https://bit.ly/3C5fuuq ) – a groundbreaking Augmented Reality public art exhibition to mark 10 years since the riots of summer 2011 announced the arrival of 21st Century Britain. The artwork combined streamed archival video, social media, Augmented Reality, curated community conversations and workshops to explore the pathology, history and underlying drivers of English civil unrest in the digital age. Programme partners in London, the Midlands, and the North included FACT, The Bluecoat and BOM.
Akoto is the recipient of commissions from Google/YouTube, Facebook/Meta and research funding from the British Council and Arts Council England. He has also served on multiple juries including for BAFTA and the BFI London Film Festival. The most recent feature film he produced, QUEEN OF GLORY (from actor and first time director Nana Mensah), had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2021 followed by an awards-laden festival run and Independent Spirit Awards nominations. It is released in US and UK cinemas in Summer 2022.
ESKA is a vocalist, composer, choral conductor and producer whose genre-hopping career has included contributions to 4 Mercury-nominated albums including her self-titled debut album.
ESKA made her acting and theatre composition debut as ‘Aunty’ in Kae Tempest’s Paradise at the National Theatre in 2021.
This year, alongside working on her follow-up solo album, she is currently composing her first film-score and a binaural opera, commissioned by the Royal Opera House.