Africa in the Big Apple

The African continent is making a big splash in the Big Apple this May;  first up, the African Film Festival  celebrating its 25th Anniversary will be taking place May 1st to the 25th at Lincoln Center, the Maysles Cinema Institute and BAMcinématek.   The festival will feature 50 films and documentaries from 25 countries.  I’ve already seen “Head Gone” a comedy from Nigeria that makes you think about how thin that line is between sanity and insanity, as well as being a sly nod at how an invested bureaucracy fails to help those it should and catches others in its net.  “The Prophesy” is a short about a photographer’s attempt through beautiful and provocative images to increase awareness of environmental degradation in Senegal and Australia.  “100% Dakar” brought back memories of my 2008 visit to that vibrant city, with its portraits of several creative artists from that city working in fashion, music, photography, etc. who are responsible for a booming arts scene, despite obstacles and burdens that would be crushing for less hardy souls.  I left feeling really good and hopeful after all these films, and I can’t wait to see more!

When I left one of the venues at the Asian Art week in March, I thought to myself “why don’t we have an African Art Week?”   Then in April, at the Columbia African Economic Forum, I heard Touria El Glaoui, the Founding director of 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair  speak about how she was going to bring the show here!  The Fair will take place for the first time in New York City May 15-17, 2015.  Held at Pioneer Works in Red Hook, Brooklyn  the fair will showcase visual artists from across Africa, and will host artist talks, lectures and film screenings. I’m looking forward to discovering the art that will be on display!

BAM is once again hosting the Dance Africa Festival May 16-25.  Now in it’s 38th year, the Fesitval’s theme for it’s 2015 edition is “Brazilian rhythms, African roots“.  In addition to the performances, there will be film, dance workshops and neighborhood events.

And don’t forget African music.  Afropop Worldwide, a Peabody award winning radio show and internet site covering African music made on the Continent and throughout the world.  On their website you can listen to the programs you may have missed, or download them as podcasts, check out their videos, and read their informative articles.

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