Featured artist: Abdullah Adekola

Abdullah Adekola is a creative writer and poet based in Leeds. Here he describes some of his most recent projects and how other artists and writers can get involved.

"I started writing and performing three and a half years ago. I’m interested in social care and social justice and am inspired by many different writers, philosophers, and musicians, including James Baldwin, Maya Angelou, Imam Ghazali, Bon Iver, John Agard and Corrine Bailey Rae. I find hope in stories, and I want people of colour in particular to see elements of their lives reflected in my work.

My first ever poetry pamphlet, '3 poems by Adekola' was published in the summer of 2018 by Bradical Press. Bradical Press is a Bradford based fanzine that discusses ideas around Islamophobia and diaspora in Bradford. The poems will tell you a little about who I am as a person and a lot about who I am as a writer. The works were called 'Five minutes of foolishness', 'Poems like prophecies' and 'Love is my mission’ and were illustrated by M. K. Khan.

Currently I am working on a creative project called Say It With Your Chest (SIWYC), a Leeds-based poetry collective that focuses on promoting and developing the Northern poetry scene.

SIWYC hold open mic nights and collaborative events with partners in Leeds and across the UK. We support Leeds-based poets and artists and particularly people under represented in the scene, including black and POC artists, working-class artists, queer artists, and artists with disabilities.

We are in the process of working with writer and performer Samra Mayanja to support a group of poets of colour in the writing, editing, creative development, and publishing, of pamphlets of original work through Footprint Workers Cooperative.

My biggest achievement is staying on my artistic journey, having fun, visiting new places, connecting with new people, contributing to a positive creative culture and being paid for it! Keeping the energy up to create and carving out the time is always a challenge but it is worth it for the results and I'm always looking to collaborate with like-minded people from any medium."

You can watch Abdullah perform in some of his favourite venues such as The Sunday Practice at the Sela Bar on Briggate or Outspoken at LS6 Cafe.

Why not view Abdullah’s work and purchase a poetry pamphlet for yourself at adekola.bigcartel.com or check out his Instagram @adekolapoetry.

Interview by Jodie Beardmore.


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