It has been a full week of art, music, fashion, and dance! I’m grateful to have experienced so much beautiful artistry by amazing local, regional, and international creators. My week commenced with the Knight Foundation Art Champion Celebration at the Perez Art Museum Miami on Monday. Tuesday, I performed at the LOOP art showcase and exhibition at the Claire Oliver Gallery (http://www.caribfunk.com/blog). Thursday was “Le Art Nior, Diversity in Color,” an evening of art, fashion, and entertainment at The African Heritage Cultural Arts Center which was a part of the “Art of Black Miami” series (http://www.caribfunk.com/blog). Saturday featured an evening of dance at Miami Dade College Kendall Campus where the Jubilation Dance Ensemble shared “The Art of Dance: Sacred and Sanctified—Breathe, Motion, and the Creative Process” under the direction of Michelle Grant-Murray. This event was not a part of the Miami Art Week/Art Basel but it was ordained for this event to fall in alignment with this festival (to be discussed later!) Sunday, I performed with Olujimi Dance Collective as a part of the culminating event of AfriKin Art 2022 who’s theme was “The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born: Acknowledging the Beauty of the Creation Existing Here, Now, and Next…”
AfriKin Art 2022 featured artists “whose works are being presented within the framework of concepts surrounding the 1968 novel, The Beautiful Ones Are Not Yet Born, by Ayi Kwei Armah” (www.afrikin.org). The contributing artists featured represented the Diaspora far and wide: Nigeria, Jamaica, Haiti, USA, Senegal, Cameroon, Netherlands, Colombia, Ghana, Cuba, Burkina Faso and beyond!
AfriKin 2022 opened with a VIP preview at Maison AfriKin, 318 NE 80th Terrace, Miami, FL 33138 as well as curated events at the Miami Hilton Blue Lagoon Thursday, 12/1/22 through Sunday, 12/4/22. Thursday, 12/1/22 “Loci of Affiliation: The Artist as a Producer of Knowledge (panel discussion). Friday, 12/2/22 “Narratives of Resistance: The Poetics and Politics of Staying Human (panel discussion), Saturday, 12/3/22 “Black Women’s Rights: Leadership and the Circularities of Power” (book launch and discussion). Sunday, 12/4/22: Fashion show by Aida Diop and dance performance by Olujimi Dance Collective.
AfriKin Founder and Director Alfonso D’Niscicio Brooks hosted the culminating event. The place was packed with patrons of the arts, familiar faces, and profound Black artists, scholars, and performers. It was a wonderful event. Aida Diop’s fashions are exquisite and are a must have. Her designs are beyond gorgeous. The color palette offers something for everyone—rich, bold, and vibrant. Her designs can take you from casual, to the office, or cocktail hour effortlessly. I have several pieces that I am in love with!
Olujimi Dance Collective under the direction of Michelle Grant-Murray burned the house down (as per usual). The first piece “Un Earthed” was performed by Barney Pena Espinal, Erika Layola, and Shanna Woods. Espinal’s solo begins the piece. She sets the atmosphere with her raffia inspired costume, the fullness of the skirt and top provides a musical composition with its swooshing sound. With her arms placed in several Dunham-esque positions and pelvis rising and falling to meet Damballah, she cleanses the space. The work offers traditional African dance movements layered with a fusion of Black dance rituals and aesthetics. The women breathed life into the atmosphere with big jumps, rotating hips, and fluid torsos. African drumming, roosters crowing and the sounds of bottles clacking work in relationship to Bowmboi performed by Rokia Traoré. Woods enters by unrolling and releasing herself from a sea of aqua fabric revealing her earth toned halter top dress that moves with her sometimes erratic and fierce composition. Layola’s lime green dress is the perfect complement; Woods and Layola are a splendid pair searching, reaching, and succumbing to the powers of the earth.
The second piece T.W.E.R.K. performed by company members Erika Layola, Shanna Woods, and A’Keitha Carey is centered on women journeying with the idea of the “train” which serves as a metaphor for transition but also as the conduit to take one to their location/destiny. The work explores the history of each woman and the events that take place on their journey. The company performed and excerpt of the work which is set to premier at the Dennis C. Moss Cultural Arts Center in January 2023.
AfriKan’s mission is to “Creat[e] cultural connections through masterful artistry and meaningful conversations” (www.afrikin.org) and they did just what they said! Congratulations Alphonso and your team. You have curated yet another wonderful event that has enlightened, enriched, and empowered the community. The selected works and artists featured were sublime! Please support this organization—they are “The Beautiful Ones…” Thank you Miami Art Week/Art Basel; it was beyond my expectations. Remember to ALWAYS SEE SOMETHING NOIR!
Images of Olujumi Dance Collective and the Fashion show taken by Folayan Griffiths
Images of group and A’Keitha Carey taken by Steph Sanchez
Images of the artwork was not posted