ARTISTIC VOICES OF THE DIASPORA
SATURDAY, APRIL 2, 2011 — 3:00pm
Museum of Arts and Design, New York NY
PANEL DISCUSSION AND SCREENING—African Film Festival Inc. AFF in partnership with the Museum of Art and Design MAD will celebrate both entities spotlight on the contemporary artistic voices of the Diaspora, The 18th New York African Film Festival, and The Global Africa Project through a panel discussion and film screening at the Museum of Art and Design Theater. The African Diaspora focus of both AFF and MAD is timely as 2011 has been designated the International Year of the Peoples of African Descent by the United Nations. The festival and museum will present a historical overview of the exhibition of contemporary artistic works of the African Diaspora through a dynamic panel of international artists including Xenobia Bailey textile artist and writer Harry Belafonte actor singer and humanitarian and Zina Saro-wiwa filmmaker and curator. Following the panel will be a screening of the 1966 film African Rhythmus a visually stunning fifty-minute Soviet survey of the First World Festival of Negro Arts now known as the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture first held in Dakar Senegal in 1966.
African Rhythmus, archival footage, Senegal / USSR, 1966, 50 min.
In Russian with English subtitles
At the First World Festival of Negro Arts delegates from 37 countries of the world met. The festival taking place in the open air rather than in theater halls created a friendly atmosphere that laid the foundation for a new way for people to converge. Using state-of-the art technology to capture this truly historical moment the film surveys the first-ever global gathering of celebrated artists of the African Diaspora in this visually stunning film. Some of the highlights of the film are performances by singer Moune de Rivel Antilles and Josephine Baker USA and ensemble performances from Chad Togo United Arab Republic Nigerian Republic Trinidad Tobago and the Alvin Ailey Company.
Xenobia Bailey is a needle fiber artist writer and cultural rehabilitator who has been widely exhibited at major galleries and institutions throughout the course of her career including: Studio Museum of Harlem the New Museum of Contemporary Art the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Jersey City Museum. Originally from Seattle Washington and now living in Harlem New York Bailey brings African American roots music into visual terms with vibrant room-sized installations of crocheted mandalas tents and costumes. Her discovery of African aesthetics and culture of jazz blues and fusion music in college contributed to her idea that the psyche was profoundly impacted by ones physical surroundings. She began to crochet her impression of these uplifting and empowering sounds and soon began making enveloping installations that seek to uplift and inspire while establishing an African American aesthetic in everyday American culture. Currently Bailey’s works can be seen in The Global Africa Project exhibition.
An actor singer and humanitarian and the acknowledged King of Calypso Harry Belafonte ranked among the most seminal performers of the postwar era. Born March 1 1927 in Harlem NY to Caribbean-born immigrants he returned with his mother to her native Jamaica at the age of eight and remained there for the next five years. The island and all its variety became his cultural reservoir. At the outbreak of World War II Belafonte returned to Harlem and over the next few years served in United States Navy followed by work in the garment center and as a janitors assistant. He later joined the Dramatic Workshop of the New School of Social Research under the tutelage of the renowned German director Erwin Piscator where Belafonte became thoroughly immersed in the world of theatre. That experience prepared Belafonte for an inordinately successful career including becoming the first artist in industry history to sell over 1 million LPs with his RCA album Calypso his Tony Award winning Broadway appearance in JOHN MURRAY ANDERSONS ALMANAC his Emmy Award winning CBS production of AN EVENING WITH BELAFONTE which also made him the first black producer in television and his memorable role of Joe the soldier in Otto Preminger‚Äôs CARMEN JONES. In addition to his work as a performer Mr. Belafonte has long been a political and humanitarian activist. He was a key figure in the Civil Rights movement in America and his advocacy in South Africa contributed to the ending of the oppressive apartheid government of South Africa and release of his friend Nelson Mandela from prison. He also set in motion the wheels that led to We Are the World on January 28 1985 and directed the project known as USA for Africa. In 1987 Belafonte accepted the appointment as UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador thus making him the second American to hold this title the first being Danny Kaye. Belafonte has continued to devote himself globally to civil and human rights issues focusing in particular on the United States and Africa.
Zina Saro-Wiwa is a British-Nigeria filmmaker curator and founder of AfricaLab the production company behind the HBO documentary This is My Africa. A former BBC journalist Saro-Wiwa has made three documentaries two experimental Nollywood films and video art. Her most recent documentary the award-winning This Is My Africa which features amongst others Chiwetel Eijofor John Akomfrah Yinka Shonibare and Oscar-winner Colin Firth weaves together the personal experiences and memories of a group of Africans and Africaphiles. The documentary was shown on HBO in 2010 and 2011. Her most recent AfricaLab project was the contemporary art exhibition titled Sharon Stone in Abuja which explored the visual and narrative conventions of Nigerias video film industry: Nollywood. For the exhibition Saro-Wiwa brought together top artists Wangechi Mutu Pieter Hugo Mickalene Thomas and Andrew Esiebo and contributed her own work in the form of installation video art and experimental film. Zina is a passionate advocate of the importance of the role of culture in development in Africa and its diaspora and her company AfricaLab is dedicated to re-imagining the continent through film and art sharing knowledge and experimenting with African culture and life. She was recently named as one of The Times UK top 25 Africans leading the continents Renaissance.
Ngozi Odita is the founder of Society HAE an online media site and production company that promotes emerging art and culture from a global perspective and serves as its Creative Director and Executive Producer. In the role of Creative Director Odita leads Society HAE’s editorial and creative teams and has overseen the production of 42 video shorts and more than 100 news stories. As Executive Producer Odita has worked with over 200 artists and produced more than 30 events/programs attended by close to 50 000 people. Odita’s most recent large-scale production THE FACTORY 2010 hosted in conjunction with The Brooklyn Museum‚Äôs Andy Warhol exhibit: The Last Decade attracted over 24 000 guests and broke the Brooklyn Museums previous one-day attendance record of 16 000. Odita’s events/programs have been written up by numerous publications including the New York Times, Village Voice, NY Magazine, and Paper Magazine. Odita’s current projects include Tour de PoP and Afrika21 Society HAE‚Äôs two global initiatives whose goals are to promote public art and emerging art culture throughout the diaspora and beyond.
THE DIASPORA: THE GENESIS
THURSDAY, APRIL 14, 2011
Screening Session I: 1:00-2:20pm
Screening Session II: 3:00-4:05pm
Panel Discussion: 7:00pm-9:00pm
Co-presentation with Columbia University’s Institute of African Studies IAS
PANEL DISCUSSION AND SCREENING—This years New York African Film Festivals daylong free public program presented by African Film Festival Inc., Institute of African Studies of the Columbia University, and Center for African Education is a continuation of the festivals spotlight on the United Nations designated theme for 2011 International Year of Peoples of African Descent. The program begins at 1:00pm with a film screening of Eric Miyenis Mining for Change from 1:00-2:20pm and a screening of Georges Collinet and Sheila Walkers Africans Out Of Africa from 3:00-4:05pm and finally the panel discussion from 7:00-9:00pm. The panel will include excerpts from the following films: Africans Out of Africa Besouro and Ebony Goddess: Queen of Ile Aiye. The program will explore the voluntary and forced migration of African peoples that was the genesis of the Diaspora. The screenings and panel will present a historical overview and present-day legacy of the transatlantic slave routes as well as the significant contributions of the African Diaspora to the host societies in various fields arts religion knowledge gastronomy agriculture behavior linguistics etc.
Ms. Materres professional background spans more than 25 years experience as film producer writer arts administrator distribution/marketing specialist and college professor. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Film and Assocaite Director of The Bachelors Program at The New School where she was recently awarded the University Distinguished Teaching Award and an independent media consultant advising filmmakers and organizations on fundraising distribution outreach marketing and exhibition. Early in her career she was a staff writer/producer for Henry Hamptons Blackside Productions and an assistant story editor for MGM/UA in the feature film division. As a founding partner of KJM3 Entertainment Group Inc. a film distribution and marketing company that specialized in multicultural film and television projects Ms. Materre directly managed the marketing and positioning of 23 films including the successful theatrical release of Daughters of the Dust the highly acclaimed film by Julie Dash as well as Lhomme sur les quais The Man By The Shore by Raoul Peck. Selected client list includes: Julie Dash Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady Tracey Heather Strain Channel Thirteen/WNET Stanley Nelson Women Make Movies Third World Newsreel. Ms. Materre is a former member of the Board of Directors of New York Women in Film and Television and has been the curator of the critically acclaimed film series Creatively Speaking for the past fifteen years.
Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
Ms. Ekua Brew-Hammond has written for AOL Parenting Magazine the Village Voice Metro and Trace Magazine . Her short story Bush Girl was published in the May 2008 issue of African Writing and her poem The Whinings of a Seven Sister Cum Laude Graduate Working Board as an Assistant was published in 2006s Growing up Girl Anthology . A cum laude graduate of Vassar College she attended secondary school in Ghana. Her debut novel Powder Necklace is loosely based on her secondary school experience.
Onel is a multi-instrumentalist saxophone flute percussion composer and producer whose career spans almost three decades. Onel has performed in some of the most prestigious music festivals and concert venues across Europe the Middle East and Latin America. He has toured performed and or recorded with artists including Celia Cruz, Arturo Sandoval, Chaka Khan, Melissa Etheridge, Patato Valdes, Pedro Luis Ferrer, Jose Luis El Puma Rodriguez, The Gypsy Kings, Israel Sardinia, Roman Diaz, Pedro Martinez, David Oquendo The Fania All Stars, and Albita Rodriguez, among others. Born in Miami FL of Cuban heritage Onel has been based in New York since 2002. As a film composer his work is featured on award-winning documentary shorts and narrative film broadcast on Showtime HBO and PBS. He served as musical director for Mama Africa and the Black Rock Coalition‚Äôs 4 Women for presentations at Lincoln Center Outdoors The Schomburg Center and BAM Café. For Habana | Harlem he’s produced shows at Joe’s Pub, BAM Café, Harlem Stage. He has also been artist in residence at the Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Center NYC.
Dr. Sheila Walker
Sheila S. Walker Ph.D, cultural anthropologist and filmmaker, is Executive Director of Afrodiaspora Inc., a non-profit organization that is developing documentaries and educational materials about the global African Diaspora. She has done fieldwork lectured consulted and participated in cultural events in much of Africa and the African Diaspora. Her most recent works are the documentary film Slave Routes: A Global Vision for the UNESCO Slave Route Project and an edited book Conocimiento desde adentro: Los afrosudamericanos hablan de sus pueblos y su historia Afro-South Americans Speak of their People and their Histories featuring articles by Afrodescendants from all of the Spanish-speaking countries of South America. She also edited the volume African Roots/American Cultures: Africa in the Creation of the Americas and produced the documentary Scattered Africa: Faces and Voices of the African Diaspora . Dr. Walker was Director of the Center for African and African American Studies the Annabel Irion Worsham Centennial Professor in the College of Liberal Arts and Professor of Anthropology at the University of Texas at Austin and she was the William and Camille Cosby Professor in the Humanities and Social Sciences Professor of Anthropology and Director of the African Diaspora and the World Program at Spelman College.
GALLERY EXHIBITION—THE BUST COLLECTION
MARCH 21-APRIL 12, 2011
Artwork by Christopher Colvin at Frieda and Roy Furman Gallery Walter Reade Theatre
Christopher is honored to be the contributing artist in a time the United Nations has declared 2011 as the International Year of the the Peoples of African Descent. His most recent work continues onward with the debut of an intriguing new series coined the Bust Collection as a tribute to global iconic figures from the African Diaspora and beyond that we have seen from centuries ago until now. Even with four-foot paintings rendered in oil on linens the series can be classified as mixed media portraitures due to the highly complicated treatment of each piece. The result up close is little map like figures outlined in black oil paint that create the effect of an aerial landscape up close while the composite from far away makes up a comprehensive portrait. But perhaps it is the juxtaposition between traditional media and not so traditional media as well as the study of anthropological features and sculpture in Europe Africa and the Americas through a series of busts that make Colvin interesting and serve to demonstrate the conflict his life has mirrored particularly as a product of South African heritage during a time in which apartheid ran prevalent. Equally adopted by of dispossessed society while living in the ghettoes of Santa Barbara in his early twenties this self-taught artist found inspiration through art in all of its permutations even if it meant making use of chalk on cardboard. Christopher is proud to be a new voice in the blurring of the lines of disciplines and is looking forward to showcasing this newest collection to art aficionados of the world.
OPEN AIR CINEMA
FRIDAY, MAY 20 2011 — 6:00pm
Co-presentation with The Big Screen Project
AFF and The Big Screen Project are partnering to bring Africa and the Diaspora into the public sphere through the presentation of short and features media works on a 30 x 16.5 ft. HD Format LED screen located Sixth Avenue between 29th and 30th Street in New York City. The free program will feature content of all genres that are appropriate for a general audience and that will run on a scheduled loop during the April-May run of the New York African Film Festival.