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Past Events

AIH PRESENTS 22ND AFRICAN FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS

August 31st, 2011

2011 AFRICAN FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS CHICAGO PROMOTES CULTURAL EXCHANGE
Annual Event Promotes, Educates, and Uplifts Global Contributions of African Diaspora Performances by Grammy-Award winning India Arie and Mary Mary

2011 marks the 22nd anniversary of the African Festival of the Arts as a world-class destination for family fun. It is the largest neighborhood-festival in Chicago boasting more than attendees 300,000. The Festival takes place throughout Labor Day Weekend, September2-5, 2011 in Washington Park-5100 S. Cottage Grove, Chicago, IL. 60637.

Each year, the AFA grounds in Chicago’s Washington Park come alive as a simulated African village, replete with special interests pavilions featuring African drumming, colorful and rich fabrics, hand-crafted fine arts, interactive demonstrations, health and wellness workshops, spectacular jewelry, and mesmerizing entertainment.

This year’s Festival is themed “Eleheh” which means “Moving Forward.” The term Eleheh is from the West African language of Soninke which is spoken in Mali, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Niger, Guinea Basao, Guinea and variations of it are spoken in Liberia. The theme reflects the cultural climate across the Diaspora.

“Africa International House is dedicated to the celebration and preservation of African cultures and traditions, with the intentions to pass them on to future generations,” affirms Patrick Woodtor, founder of African Festival of the Arts. “Expectations are there are yet more contributions to be made and celebrated. As the world moves forward, it is most imperative that we too continue to change in synchrony with the times and promulgate the best cultural traditions of African peoples while looking forward and promoting progress.”

Cultural Arts Exchange
This year the AFA Dee Parmer Woodtor Main Stage features a diverse mix of performances from local artists to Grammy-Award winning.

Performers:

Friday, September 2

Al B. Sure

Chico DeBarge

Jon B.

Christopher Williams

Zzaje

Fela Queens

Spirits of the Ancestors

DJ Kodjo (Traditional and Popular African Music)

Saturday, September 3

Bootsy Collins

Roland Brown & The Merchants

DJ Kodjo (Traditional and Popular African Music)

Mike E & AfroFlow

Afronique Fashion Show

MUNTU

DJ Kodjo (Traditional and Popular African Music)

Sunday, September 4

Mary Mary

Gerald Wilson

The Selvy Singers of Earle, Arkansas

Joshua’s Troop

Taylor Mallory

DJ Kodjo (Traditional and Popular African Music)

Monday, September 5 (Labor Day)

India Arie

Awards Recognition: Grand BaBa-George Daniels and Grand YeYe-Geraldine de Haas

Joan Colasso

DJ Cajmere

Kefee

Samba1

Tambour sans Frontier

Tahura

Senekeh

Pavilions:

  • Bank of the Nile: Senses come alive as mouth-watering smells lead to a food court rich in delectable and authentic African-cuisine. Experience exotic fare from the diverse cultures of Africa including Egusi from Nigeria; Wolof rice from Senegal; Jerk chicken, goat-meat and fish from the Caribbean; and other spicy, appetizing dishes from across the African Diaspora. And don’t miss out on the distinct Cajun and Soul foods from the different corners of the world.
  •  Film Pavilion: (Sponsored by ICE Theaters) View a variety of short and feature length films that are produced by filmmakers of African ancestry, and interpret the culture and experiences of peoples living in all parts of the African Diaspora. Enjoy free popcorn, get free movie posters and learn more about the Black World Cinema independent film screenings shown only at your neighborhood ICE Theaters.
  • Fine Arts Pavilion: The Festival is world renowned for its collectible fine art that includes original oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, charcoal, graphite, and works of limited editions, as well as sculptures in metal, wood, and mixed media. The best artists and works of wearable art and jewelry are featured in the Fine Arts Pavilion. Throughout the years, the Festival has become known for assisting in uplifting the careers of contemporary visual artists, craft-makers and art galleries. Importantly, the fine art program continues to educate collectors and beginning collectors on art in general. This year’s featured artist is Dana Easter, who will be joined in the pavilion by artists such as Uwa Hunwick, Woodrow Nash, Frank Frazier, Melvin King, Rondell, Stacy Brown, Nii-Oti, Dimali, Isodor Howard, and Dayo Laoye who is also the pavilion coordinator along with John Martin.
  • Author and Book Pavilion: Browse and shop for great book deals then hang around to meet, greet, and enjoy readings by best selling and emerging authors, including R&B superstar Tyrese, who has penned “How to Get Out of your Own Way.” Pam Grier also returns to the Festival grounds to share excerpts from her revealing memoir, “My Life in Three Acts.”
  • Beer and Wine Garden: Enjoy the full-bodied, refreshingly smooth spirits, wines, and beers.
  • The Drum Village: Come celebrate The Drum. The Dance. The Experience. Explore the influence African and African-American heritage had on the cultural arts in Chicago for more than 40 years. Master drummers Olu Shakoor and Baba Tyehimba Mtu lead this spontaneous and collaborative pavilion showcasing interactive music education sessions and cultural performances rooted in African traditions; historical artifacts, photos, performances, and demonstrations lead by artistic drummers and dancers from around the world. Bring your old drums for re-skinning.
  • Children’s Pavilion: (Hosted by The Institute of Positive Education and Betty Shabazz International Charter School) Youth of all ages can enjoy games, music, dance, storytelling, theater, arts, drum and crafts all day long! Other highlights include a children’s drum workshop presented by Seneke West African Percussion Ensemble as well as a fashion show with designs by Afro-Funk and hair by Amazon-where culture meets fashion. Social service agencies will be represented in the pavilion to provide answers to family, parenting, educational, and children’s questions.
  • Spirituality Pavilion: Engage or observe sessions and conversations with African priests, spiritualists, healers, nutritionists, and herbalists. Try the diviners and other readers to uncover your hidden paths.
  • Dr. Nurudeen Olowopopo Health and Wellness Village (sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois): Join in fun fitness programs, Zumba sessions, dance and exercise demonstrations. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois invites all ages to “Try Your Hand at Tennis” workshops held Saturday and Sunday during the Festival. Important health resources and screenings for the entire family provided by University of Chicago Medical Center Urban Initiative and American Cancer Society.
  • Quilting Pavilion: Quilting is an ageless tradition that has cultural significance across the African Diaspora. From slave codes to storytelling, quilting seamlessly connected generations of Africans to the Motherland. Festival-goers can visit the Quilting Pavilion to learn about the craft, gain insight to the intricate stitching and techniques like appliqué, piecing and embroidery. We also invite you to bring old family quilts for restoration lessons. Enjoy the breathtaking vibrant colors and fabrics that make this textile artistry a lasting Cultural Legacy.

We’re social!
Updates, giveaways and live coverage will be posted to our social networks, Facebook and Twitter. Use hashtag #AFA2011 to follow live tweeted-coverage.

The 22nd Annual African Festival of the Arts Chicago opens daily Sept. 2-5 from 10a-10p. The tax deductible admission is $10 in advance, $15 at the gate or $30 for a 4-day weekend pass. Family and group discounts are also available.

Click here to buy tickets

The African Festival of the Arts Chicago is presented by Africa International House USA, Inc. and supported by:

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