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EZEKIXL AKINNEWU IS A NIGERIAN BRITISH ARTIST, DESIGNER, AND MULTIDISCIPLINARY ART DIRECTOR KNOWN FOR HIS WORK IN ART DIRECTION, FILM, AND FASHION. HE HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN PROJECTS SUCH AS “BLACK BOYS DON’T CRY,” “ARTCONQUERSALL,” “RAINBOW,” “QUINN,” AND MORE, WHERE HE HAS PUSHED THE BOUNDARIES OF ART DIRECTION.

BORN IN LAGOS, NIGERIA, AKINNEWU HAS A MIXED HERITAGE OF YORUBA AND HAUSA DESCENT. HE BEGAN HIS STUDIES IN BUSINESS LAW AT UNIVERSITY COLLEGE LONDON IN 2008 AND GRADUATED WITH SECOND CLASS UPPER (2:1) HONORS. IT WAS DURING HIS TIME AT UNIVERSITY THAT HE WAS SCOUTED BY WALE ADEYEMI WHILE INTERNING FOR NIKE, WHICH KICKSTARTED HIS CAREER IN PHOTOGRAPHY.

AKINNEWU’S INVOLVEMENT IN UNIVERSITY ACTIVITIES ALLOWED HIM TO ORGANIZE PARTIES IN THE BUILDING, ATTRACTING THE INTEREST OF THE “IT” CROWD AT THE TIME, PARTICULARLY STUDENTS FROM THE SCHOOL OF ORIENTAL AND AFRICAN STUDIES (SOAS).

THROUGHOUT HIS CAREER, AKINNEWU HAS WORKED AS A DIRECTOR OF PRODUCTION FOR VARIOUS INDUSTRIAL BRANDS AND SHOOTS, INCLUDING NIKE, SEAN PAUL, GRM DAILY, LINK UP TV, SBTV, BUZZFEED, AND MORE. ALONGSIDE HIS PROFESSIONAL WORK, HE HAS ALSO PURSUED HIS OWN CREATIVE OUTPUT IN FASHION FILMS, DESIGNS, AND FURNITURE DESIGN.

IN 2012, DESIGNER WALE ADEYEMI ATTENDED ONE OF AKINNEWU’S EXHIBITIONS IN SHOREDITCH AND WAS IMPRESSED BY HIS WORK. ADEYEMI SUBSEQUENTLY EMPLOYED AKINNEWU AS AN INTERN AND CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR HIS BRAND, B-SIDE BY WALE. HE ALSO ENCOURAGED AKINNEWU TO WORK ON OTHER DESIGN AND FILM PROJECTS FOR HIM.

AKINNEWU’S SUCCESS IN DESIGN PROJECTS, ART GALLERY, AND FILMS HAS ALLOWED HIM TO SUPPORT AND GIVE BACK TO YOUNG CREATIVES IN THE INDUSTRY. IN 2020, HE TOOK ON SEVERAL FRESH ASSISTANT DIRECTORS FOR HIS COMPANY, AOIFE PICTURES, ONE OF THEM BEING DANIEL ADESHINA. RECOGNIZING ADESHINA’S TALENT FOR VISUAL DIRECTION AND THEIR SHARED NIGERIAN ROOTS, AKINNEWU SAW THE POTENTIAL IN THE YOUNG CREATIVE AND HAS BEEN WORKING WITH HIM SINCE.

IN 2021, AKINNEWU SADLY LOST HIS MOTHER. TO HONOR HER MEMORY AND THE ENCOURAGEMENT SHE PROVIDED HIM IN PURSUING A CAREER IN ART, HE DECIDED TO PROVIDE FIVE GRANTS VALUED AT £20,000 EACH FOR UPCOMING ARTISTS TO SUPPORT THEIR FILM PRODUCTIONS. THESE GRANTS HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY BENEFITED THE ARTISTS AND PROPELLED THEIR CAREERS TO NEW HEIGHTS. THE GRANTS ARE STILL OPEN, AND INTERESTED CANDIDATES ARE ADVISED TO EMAIL AKINNEWU’S ASSISTANT WITH A BRIEF ABOUT THEIR PRODUCTION NEEDS AT MARIE@AOIFE.CO.

IN 2017, AKINNEWU FORMALIZED HIS ENDEAVORS BY ESTABLISHING AOIFE PICTURES, A PRODUCTION COMPANY NAMED AFTER HIS DAUGHTER, AOIFE AKINNEWU. THE COMPANY SPECIALIZES IN FILM PRODUCTION AND DESIGN CONSULTANCY. ADDITIONALLY, IN 2021, AKINNEWU BEGAN DEVELOPING THE NEOCORTEX, AN ART GALLERY DEDICATED TO EXHIBITING ART AND FOSTERING MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS. TO MAINTAIN THE ECOSYSTEM HE CREATED, AKINNEWU COMMISSIONED HIS OWN PRODUCTION COMPANY, AOIFE PICTURES, TO HANDLE ALL PRODUCTION FOR THE ART GALLERY. THEREFORE, AOIFE PICTURES WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR SHOOTING ALL PRODUCTION FOR NEOCORTEX.

WONDERLAND MAGAZINE
DAZED MAGAZINE
AFROPUNK MAGAZINE
GUAP MAGAZINE
INDIESHORT FEST
I-D MAGAZINE
CHANNEL 4
GAL-DEM
THE FADER
GRMDAILY
BUZZFEED
LINKUPTV
VICE
CNN
BBC
AGOGO NEWS
UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO
GREATEST PHOTOGRAPHERS 2020
NATIONAL BLACK WOMEN JUSTICE INSTITUTE

THROUGH HIS ASSOCIATION WITH WALE ADEYEMI, AKINNEWU HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO WORK ON VARIOUS INTERDISCIPLINARY PROJECTS, INCLUDING STAGE DESIGN, ART PROJECTS, ALBUM ARTWORK, AND FASHION COLLECTIONS FOR SEVERAL DESIGNERS. WHAT STARTED AS AN INTERNSHIP EVENTUALLY EVOLVED INTO A FULL-TIME ROLE, AND AKINNEWU BECAME THE CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR WALE ADEYEMI’S BRAND B-SIDE BY WALE, AS WELL AS HIS SUBSIDIARY BRANDS STORY OF LOLA AND NEW COUNTY. ALONGSIDE HIS WORK WITH ADEYEMI, AKINNEWU ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO PROJECTS FOR BRANDS SUCH AS STUSSY, TOPMAN, ADIDAS, COLLIDE FAIL, RAF SIMONS, BALENCIAGA, AND VIPER MAGAZINE.

IN 2016, AKINNEWU FOUNDED HIS OWN LUXURY MENSWEAR LABEL CALLED ART CONQUERS ALL (ACA). THE BRAND WAS BORN FROM HIS LONG-TERM DREAM IN DESIGN, INSPIRED BY THE STYLE, PARTIES, AND CONVERSATIONS HE OBSERVED FROM THE STUDENTS AT SOAS, WHICH WAS LOCATED OPPOSITE UCL WHERE HE STUDIED. ACA AIMS TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN STREETWEAR AND HIGH-END LUXURY, CREATING WELL-DESIGNED PIECES THAT FIT SEAMLESSLY INTO CUSTOMERS’ EVERYDAY LIVES. AKINNEWU’S EXTREME OCD HAS INFLUENCED HIS WORK, WITH A FOCUS ON CLEAN LINES AND BRUTALISM EVIDENT IN HIS DESIGNS AND VISION.

SINCE ITS ESTABLISHMENT, ART CONQUERS ALL HAS GARNERED A LOYAL FOLLOWING FROM FANS AND CRITICS ALIKE, AND BY 2022, IT HAD FIVE STOCKISTS WORLDWIDE. THE BRAND HAS COLLABORATED WITH UPCOMING AND ACCLAIMED GRAFFITI ARTISTS, DESIGNERS, MUSICIANS, AND MORE. AKINNEWU HAS RECEIVED SEVERAL AWARDS AND HONORS FOR ART CONQUERS ALL, INCLUDING THE LAGOS FASHION AWARD FOR BEST NEW DESIGNER IN 2020.

DANIEL ADESHINA
SEAN PAUL
VIRGIL ABLOH
WALE ADEYEMI
TOPMAN
ADIDAS
SKINNY VINTAGE
PEXELS
TATE MODERN
YOUTUBE
GRM DAILY
LINK UP TV
SBTV
PIXEOR
CENTRAL SAINT MARTINS