Inaugural African arts and culture festival will bring emerging, contemporary artists to Yale

Inaugural African arts and culture festival will bring emerging, contemporary artists to Yale

March 18, 2015. New Haven, Connecticut—“Africa Salon,” Yale’s first annual contemporary African arts and culture festival — featuring some of today’s top artists from the continent and diaspora — will take place on Friday and Saturday, March 27 and 28.

Hosted by the Yale Africa Initiative, the interactive event will include a series of panels, readings, exhibits, and performances.

The event will open on Friday evening with a panel moderated by Michael Veal, professor of music and African American studies. Saturday’s events will include a series of panels — each accompanied by a performance or visual presentation — highlighting key artists and their work in contemporary African literature, visual art, film, music, fashion, and dance. At each panel, faculty and students who are producing artistic work on Africa will be featured.

Highlights of the event include:

• A discussion on the role of Western validation in the production of contemporary African literature, led by 2012 Yale World Fellow Bibi Bakare-Yusuf, founder of Cassava Republic Press, a Nigerian publishing house dedicated to highlighting diverse African voices. Bakare-Yusuf will be joined by Commonwealth Prize-winning novelist and BBC columnist Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani, known for her acclaimed book “I Do Not Come to You By Chance.”

• A panel discussion on contemporary African visual art, co-sponsored by the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn, New York. Laylah Amatullah Barrayn, a veteran documentary photographer whose recent work focuses on Senegal; ruby amanze, a Nigerian visual artist; and Rebecca Aston ’14, an emerging digital artist and painter from Zimbabwe, will speak about the role of personal and transatlantic experiences in shaping their art.

• A talk on fashion, film screening, and dance performance. Designers from 54 Kingdoms, a Pan-African fashion house based in New Haven, who have participated in Africa Fashion Week for the past six years, will give a talk on the design model behind their luxury pieces, each inspired by a different African aesthetic. Through a partnership between the Yale Africa Initiative and the Johannesburg Pavilion Film Programme, a selection of South Africa-produced films will be screened in advance of their 2015 premiere at the 56th Venice Biennale, a major contemporary art exhibition in Italy. Dzana, Yale’s contemporary African dance group, will perform an original choreography piece set to modern Afrobeat.

• A music panel and concert featuring contemporary African musical acts. Kenya’s Just A Band will headline the concert, and Ghanaian-Canadian musician Kae Sun and his indie rock band will open the concert, which will close out the “Africa Salon” event. The panel discussion will include Just a Band frontman and TED fellow Bill Sellanga, who will speak about the enduring relationship between music, politics, and activism in Africa. He will joined by Jean Grae, an internationally renowned South African-born hip hop artist, and Sahr Ngaujah, an award-winning lead actor in the acclaimed Broadway musical “Fela!” and frontman of the new musical project “FELA aKUsTIC.

With the exception of the concert, which will be held at Battell Chapel, located at 400 College St., the events will be held at the Afro-American Cultural Center, 211 Park St. Registration is $20; $10 for students. The concert is free and open to the public. To view the full schedule and register for “Africa Salon,” visit the website.

“Africa Salon” is made possible with the support of Stephen ’73 and Ruth Hendel, and the Hendel Fund for Innovation in Africa. The event is co-sponsored by the MacMillan Center; Yale World Fellows; the Council on African Studies; Susan Cahan, associate dean for the arts, and the Arts Discretionary Fund; Yale College Dean’s Office; Yale University Art Gallery; the Afro-American Cultural Center; and Yale’s Office of International Affairs.


Contact Information:

Marilyn Wilkes

The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale

(203) 432-3413