Smithsonian African Art Awards Dinner Honors Contemporary African Artists

November 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

The Smithsonian’s historic Arts and Industries building in SW Washington, DC was the venue for the first Annual African Art Awards Dinner on Friday October 28, hosted by the National Museum of African Art. Museum director Johnetta Betsch Cole launched the fundraising dinner as a way to honor established and up-and-coming artists, and also to show gratitude to major philanthropic organizations that have supported the museum and its mission.

Yinka Shonibare, MBE giving remarks after receiving his award

Yinka Shonibare, MBE giving remarks after receiving his award

The 2016 awardees are Kenyan born artist Ato Malinda and Nigerian-British Yinka Shonibare, MBE, one of the most important contemporary artists in the « Read the rest of this entry »

Filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa on her Reparations film, The Price of Memory

October 2, 2016 § Leave a comment

Interview with filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa from Afrofusion TV on Vimeo.

Karen Marks Mafundikwa responds during a Q&A after the screening of her film "The Price of Memory."

Karen Marks Mafundikwa responds during a Q&A at the ADIFF after the screening of her film “The Price of Memory.”

Afrofusion TV caught up with New York-based Jamaican filmmaker Karen Marks Mafundikwa after her film The Price of Memory screened at the African Diaspora International Film Festival in Washington, DC. in August. The documentary is the first to deal with the issue of reparations in Jamaica, and it had already screened at the Trinidad and Tobago International Film Festival and other festivals around North America. We wanted to talk to Ms Mafundikwa about what led her to pursue this topic on film, an issue regarded by many in the west as sensitive and controversial. You can find the full interview on our website; here is a condensed version that you can also watch on our Facebook and Twitter pages. The Price of Memory will be screened at Boston University Art Galleries, next Tues. Oct 4. The filmmaker will be in attendance. Let us know in the comments what you think once you watch the interview: what are your feelings about African descendants receiving reparatory justice? Bless…

Jimi King on African Fashion and Art

September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment

Jimi King

Jimi King

You can’t call Jimi King a “fashion designer,” even though he is quite a successful one. You can’t really call him an “African artist” either, even though he is an artist, and most definitely a proud African. Like many individual artists in the art and fashion world, Nigerian artist Jimi King is uncomfortable with labels. “I don’t like to be boxed in,” he revealed in an interview with Afrofusion TV on a recent visit to the Washington, DC area during his 2016 summer tour. Given the length and breadth of his experience, it’s understandable. In addition to fashion (wearable art, as he calls it) King does painting, sculpture and music (drumming). He has been a regular in Paris at the UNESCO Africa Week and Bazaar for the past five years, and participated in Africa Fashion Week London during the « Read the rest of this entry »

Reparations, Race and Religion at 10th African Diaspora International Film Festival

August 28, 2016 § Leave a comment

This year the African Diaspora International Film Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary in Washington, DC at the Marvin Center on the campus of George Washington University. Over the course of three days, from August 19-21, the festival showed narrative and documentary feature films and short films from just about every corner of the African diaspora. The biographical documentary BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, (2015) shared the opening night with another movie, Discipline. Noted Black Arts Movement poet Sonia Sanchez herself was in attendance together with one of the film’s directors Sabrina Schmidt Gordon, for a Q&A which was followed by a VIP reception where attendees

Sonia Sanchez (right) takes questions with the director of BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

Sonia Sanchez (right) takes questions with the director of BadddDDD Sonia Sanchez, Sabrina Schmidt Gordon

got to mingle, take photos with, and get autographs from Ms. Sanchez. The closing night films focused on celebrating the African religions still vibrant in Brazil and Cuba. Oggun, an old classic by Afro-Cuban filmmaker Gloria Rolando and Yemanja: Wisdom from the African Heart of Brazil, (2015) directed by Donna Roberts, who participated in a lively Q&A after the film’s screening. « Read the rest of this entry »

In “Baobab Flowers,” African diaspora women challenge Education Inequality

June 2, 2016 § 1 Comment

BF Still

In the ever changing world of filmmaking, from the technologies used in its creation to the way we view the end product, a few things remain constant. For artists of color the world over, especially those of African descent, one of these is the importance of telling our own stories. Brazilian filmmaker Gabriela Watson obviously takes this very seriously; in her new documentary film Baobab Flowers, she tackles the problem of education inequality from an African Diaspora perspective by following two women high school teachers in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Philadelphia, USA. It is a film that seeks to show the endemic  problem of low quality education in underserved black communities worldwide by focusing on two unrelated women who are nonetheless similar in their approach to teaching and to their relationships with their students, and also in their struggle to overcome such abject inequality. « Read the rest of this entry »

African Arts and Fashion on Display in DC

May 26, 2016 § 4 Comments

AA Fashion Showcase_

AAFWDC Founder Uche Ibezue (l) with Maria, makeup artist.

When Uche Ibezue of Omak Designs started African Arts and Fashion Week DC, her idea was not simply to bring attention to the nation’s capital as a fashion force. Grabbing the attention of the fashion market, both national and global, was an abiding aspiration. Last week, the third annual AAFWDC featured a panel discussion and fashion showcase, and many of the burning issues regarding African fashion were raised.

A few years ago it was nice to see a number of celebrities wearing African print designs to red carpet events worldwide. Famous names like Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Solange Knowles and her sister Beyonce, Angela Simmons, and even Gwen Stefani were all spotted in gowns and complete sets that were made from African prints like Ankara and Kente. The popularity of those designs has since trickled down to the young ones, the rebellious youth that are always finding innovative ways of expressing themselves. In that vein, a young lady “broke the internet” when she created a stunningly beautiful African print gown, posted it on Instagram, and « Read the rest of this entry »

Bodoma Garifuna at the Afro-Latino Festival NYC 2015

July 28, 2015 § Leave a comment

Bodoma Garifuna perform their traditional Garifuna music and dance at the the Afro-Latino Festival NYC

Bodoma Garifuna performs their traditional Garifuna music and dance at the the Afro-Latino Festival NYC

It was the first time the Afro-Latino Festival NYC 2015 had been held over a three-day period, but it was just as well, because Harlem, the Bronx and Brooklyn were all a part of a joyous coming together of Latin Americans celebrating the diversity of Afrodescendente culture. Afrofusion TV made it to Brooklyn on the last day of the festival to capture some scenes for our upcoming segment on Afro-Latino identity, and we were pleased to find a group from Honduras called Bodoma Garifuna Culture Band on the billing. Our interest in the Garifuna goes beyond what we need for our African Diaspora series, though. I’ve always been interested in learning more about Garifuna, a group descended from West and Central Africans, Island Carib, and Arawak peoples that live mostly in the Central American coastal areas of Honduras, Guatemala, Belize and Nicaragua. Diaspora Garifuna communities can « Read the rest of this entry »

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