The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center (AHCAC) hosted Le Art Nior, Diversity in Color last night (12/1/22) which is a part of the “Art of Black Miami” series. It was an evening of Art, Fashion, and Entertainment but it was also a homecoming and family reunion for me. The AHCAC and Marshall Davis, the Director serve as my dance education home. Mr. Davis offered me my first teaching job in 1998 and I remained there for 8 years serving as the Dance Director and the Artistic Director of the resident dance companies before leaving for graduate school in 2005. Driving up and seeing the transformation of the campus and the expansion of the buildings was such a joy because I can recall staff meetings where Mr. Davis and other employees shared their vision and to see the manifestation of these ideas was gratifying. I saw former colleagues Bayunga Kialeuka, a featured artist, Darryn Ferguson, who was there volunteering his time to assist with the setup, and Isis Roberts, Arts Administrator. My heart was full.
The First Frequency art exhibition in the Amadlozi Gallery was developed by Bayunga Kialeuk: the artists featured are Boris Anje, Precy Numbi, Sesse Elangwe, Nicole Grace, Kingtsey, Aurelia Djena, Hako Hankson and many more! As I entered the gallery space, I was blown away be the work—many of the images didn’t have the artists information because they are still preparing for the official opening which is today (12/2/22). There was a range of mediums, textures, and themes on display. The work is brilliant and vivid, drawing you in multiple ways. I overheard conversations with a few of the artists and visitors; they were very generous as they discussed their process and inspiration. The gallery on the west side of the building offers a different experience and energy. As soon as you walk into the space you are greeted with deep and rich colors, reminiscent of Nick Cave or Junkanoo artwork set in den like space. The gallery on the side (around the corner) is more open and lighter with large pieces which will captivate the senses.
The gallery on the east side of the building provides a wonderful cultural stamp, offering pieces that are reminiscent of both moments in history in terms of Black activists and also work that features men and women who could be our friend, neighbor, or partner. The art moves you and seems to move with you, this is what Louis Oliver (one of the hosts of the event) stated as he viewed the work.
After, I viewed the galleries, I noticed that there was a buzz occurring and it was time for the program to begin. The DJ was in full effect, hyping the audience up with Afrobeat and remixed 70’s and 80s classics. There was also a saxophonist rocking with the beat which added to the funky vibes of the event. He later stated that he also plays at the Miami Heat games. After his performance, Louis Oliver and his event co- partner welcomed us, thanked their sponsors, and brought them all up on stage to offer a few words. Mr. Davis greeted us in his usual “short and sweet” performance, then the fashion show commenced. The lovely ladies of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, wore various indigenous inspired pieces; nude dresses, multiple versions of a fringe long leather vest over unitards, thongs, and pants, a light-colored two-piece (skirt and mid riff cut out top). There were various versions of sheer dresses revealing cheeks of all proportions. The designer also featured a full figured look. Most of the models wore feathered headpieces accentuating their unique designs. I would definitely rock any of these looks! If only I knew her name. Unfortunately, there was no information immediately available for the designer. If, you are interested in a piece of artwork or the fashion, please call the center at 305-638-6771 and definitely make your way out there to see the amazing work of the artists. On Sunday, December 3 @ 3pm (3:30pm – 9:00 pm) the AHCAC is hosting the 6th Annual Art, Blues & Soul Festival with special performances by Marsha Ambrosius, Meli’sa Morgan, Next, and more! Check out www.ahcacmiami.org for more information. See and do something “Noir” this weekend!
Cultural Critic and Dance Writer
Image 1: A’Keitha Carey
Image 2: A’Keitha Carey (Artist Unknown)
Image 3: A’Keitha Carey (Artist: Bayunga Kialeuk/”Protect Your Seed”)
Image 4: A’Keitha Carey (Artist Unknown)
Image 5: A’Keitha Carey (Artist Unknown)
Image 6: Artist Unknown
Image 7: Artist Unknown
Image 8: VanJoe: “Heart of the City