Four artist-animators have been selected as part of Film London and Arts Council England’s FLAMIN Animations, a new program of commissions for early-career Black-identifying artist animators living in the U.K. This first wave of creators are Toby Cato, Mothy Muyobo, Ezra Myers and Zainab Sanyang. The four new animation commissions will premiere on the Film London website in winter 2021, and the artist-animators will receive support in gaining further exposure for their work.
Part of FLAMIN (Film London Artists’ Moving Image Network) and as part of Film London’s increased commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion, the program aims to support artist-animators aged 18-25 as they take their first steps into a career working with the moving image, providing development support, bespoke mentoring and £2,500 to create a new one- to three-minute animation.
Chosen from a high calibre of applications, the selected artists follow both non-traditional and traditional animation routes to making work, using and combining techniques ranging across photography, hand-drawn, collage and digital to explore identity and heritage, social structure and lived experience. Past works have included the creation of dream-like realities, fusing animation with experimental music, reflecting upon historical events and simply capturing the everyday world around us.
“We’re delighted to announce the four artist animators selected for the first-ever FLAMIN Animations program. Toby, Mothy, Ezra and Zainab brilliantly explore crucial issues through bold and innovative work, and we look forward to showcasing the content they create later this year,” said Adrian Wootton, OBE, Chief Executive of Film London and the British Film Commission. “This program is a considered acknowledgement of the underrepresentation of Black-identifying artists within the art, film, and animation industries and we hope that it creates a network of next-generation artists — not only for those commissioned, but for all who applied — spotlighting the incredible skills the country has to offer within the ever-growing animation sector.”
FLAMIN Animations 2021:
Toby Cato (Instagram)
“I’m a self-taught animator living in South East London and working freelance. I’m fascinated by the magic of animation and started to teach myself from a book by Richard Williams when I was 18. My main interests are experimenting with physical media in order to create the illusion of life and movement. My first love is drawing, but I work with photography, paint and digital animation to find new and interesting styles. I also make music and infuse my animation work with experimental hip-hop and funk soundtracks. My dad is of Jamaican heritage and me and my sisters find that history to be a huge source of inspiration in our work. I am influenced by Jamaican cinema and the work of experimental animation artists such as Frank Lebon, Lotte Reiniger and Ralph Bakshi. I’m particularly interested in creating dream-like realities where I can live in the world of imagination — my only nation. My recent animations deal with finding my own identity as a young black man and with challenging the roles that black and female characters play in film and animation.”
Mothy Muyobo (website)
“I have been animating for a little while now, after changing my education path at 16 to media. I’ve always been into making things move. In my youth I was into flipbooks and would save the corners of my school workbooks for my art. I immediately knew this was my calling. Being able to work on such a big task and creating a narrative from your own imagination from start to finish is so rewarding, the outcome becomes secondary. The problem solving that comes with animating helps me to view not only art, but life through multiple lenses. Although a lack of resources may hinder some, I take this challenge on! If I have a vision it will be executed some way or another. And I always want to send out a bigger message. Black trans, Black women, Black men and Black children, are all on my agenda.”
“My work often alludes to social misconceptions of cultural practices, with psychological underpinnings. I make conscious efforts to depict the cultural values and practices of my Caribbean heritage, which reflect my experiences and desire to gain a deeper insight into my own identity. Throughout my youth, I always had heavy involvement in Steel Pans and Notting Hill carnival in London. This has enabled me to draw upon both authentic Caribbean experiences as well as my experiences of merged Caribbean and British cultures. As part of my approach, I reflect on historic events, people and music to draw parallels between processes and a range of societal outcomes. This contributes to an expression of my human experience and consequently opens up a ‘grey area’ for greater understanding of differential perception across different classes and cultures around the world.”
Zainab Sanyang (website)
“I’m a multi-disciplinary artist specialising in illustration and animation, currently based in Plymouth, England. I create because I’m curious and excited about the world around me and want to learn more about it, so I can create more dynamic pieces. I really enjoy bringing life to static imagery and mundane moments of everyday life. For example, bringing movement to a washing line or drawing the time passing by. When I create, I love to explore texture, which leads me to mainly use simple materials like pencils and markers that allow me to explore bold lines and fine details to try to imitate textures and organic subjects, for example people, flora and fauna and the world around me. In the future I’d like to experiment with finding a combined way of working to bring my traditional voice and my digital voice together.”
Visit filmlondon.org.uk/resource/apply-to-flamin-animations for more information.