In conversation with

Aisha Ayoade

Co-founder of Yellowzine



Aisha Ayoade is Marketing Manager of Futerra and co-founder of print and digital art platform Yellowzine – a space that celebrates art created by the UK creatives of African, Asian, Caribbean and Hispanic diaspora.

As a champion of the arts, Aisha realised that the voices of ethnic minority creatives were very evidently missing – or at least made invisible. Yellowzine was an endeavour to seal that gap. What she hopes to achieve with the zine is in the name: that Yellowzine will serve as the yellow pages directory of underrepresented artists. The bigger vision is that it’ll be a ‘part of a contemporary movement for the progression of art by POC’.

In this interview, we chat to her about how her love of art began, the key to building a platform that resonates with your audience and what she’s learnt about collaboration.

Question and Answer

Where does your love for creating art come from?

I started calling myself an “artist” basically from the moment my hand could grasp the crayon. Though, of course, it was all wall scribbles and half-formed sticked people! But I loved being able to create my own world. As my enjoyment for art matured, it became less about creating, but more about crafting. The best part was being able to learn and apply new skills and try new techniques. This was something my dad spotted from early, so he pushed me to create. So much so that every week I had an allocated art hour where we’d both sit together and draw anything we chose to. I’d say that played a big role in why I’m still so involved in the arts today. From a young age I had the privilege of seeing art as a lifestyle and not just a hobby.

What inspired you to start the magazine/platform Yellowzine?

Oreoluwa Ayoade and I started the magazine around the end of both of our degrees. Both doing arts courses, we had the combination of skills we needed (I did English Literature and Language and Oreoluwa did Graphic Design) and a passion for advancing the progression of minority ethnic artists in the UK. Yellowzine is an art publication that centralises the creative work of African, Caribbean and Asian artists in the UK.

We are a magazine fighting against tokenism and side-lining in the art industry in order to bring minority ethnic artists to the forefront and exhibit the multiple and multi-layered stream of talent. With the magazine we’re pushing as active members of a movement for artistic freedom for minority ethnic creatives. We encourage artists to take the liberty of expressing in any way their art requires and reflect on the many aspects of their identities, what ever they may be.

What has been the key to building a platform that resonates with your audience?

I would say honesty has been our greatest tool. We both have full time jobs outside of Yellow, which means that sometimes our consistency isn’t really consistency-ing haha. So instead of just hoping our community doesn’t notice, we try our best to tell them when we need a break, or acknowledge the times that we’ve just taken one anyway. Also being honest means we are open. We ask our community what they want to see more of and we to accommodate that. We don’t just want to be another platform posting pretty things, we want to add value. And I think, (well.. hope) so far, we’ve been doing that quite well.

Where do you draw inspiration for the stories that you feature in Yellowzine?

From the artists themselves. We curate the work, but we invite our featured artists to do all the talking.

“Being honest means we are open. We ask our community what they want to see more of and we accommodate to that. We don’t just want to be another platform posting pretty things, we want to add value.”

What are 3 things anyone should think about before starting a magazine?

Who is your community?
What do they need?
How are you best placed to meet those needs?

You’re a copywriter as well as the co-founder of Yellowzine, Night School, and Sheba. What part of the creating process do you enjoy the most?

All of it really. The whole process of creating something from scratch, being part of its growth, undergoing rounds and rounds of trial and error – all of that excites me. Of course, sometimes it can be frustrating, but it’s always so rewarding to get it right and see improvements in the things you create.

When it comes to tone of voice, which brands/magazines/platforms do you admire?

Plantain Papers (though I’m not sure it still exists)
Merky Books

Since starting the Night School initiative, what have you learnt about collaboration?

Collaboration has always been a really important part of Yellow. When it came to Night School, the most rewarding things was seeing as the Night Schoolers come together and support each other in their creations. They leaned on each other to get the most of their work and to learn new perspectives that they could apply to their work. Like the great Issa Rea says, we shouldn’t be aiming to network up – we should be networking across: “Who’s next to you? Who’s struggling? Who’s in the trenches with you? Who’s just as hungry as you are? And those are the people that you need to build with.”

Aisha's Storylist


  1. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  2. The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare


  1. Chicken & Bread
  2. Azeema
  3. Nataal


  1. LoveJamii
  2. Yellowzine ;) by

Digital Platforms

  1. Gal-dem
  2. Black Ballad
  3. GUAP

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