Event: Africa Salon 2016, 28 March – 3 April 2016, New Haven


Festival offers week-long celebration of contemporary African arts and culture

28 March – 3 April 2016

New Haven


The second annual AFRICA SALON, Yale University’s contemporary African arts and culture festival, has officially been announced! Recognizing and celebrating the outpouring of cutting-edge African visual art, film, music, and more, the second annual SALON brings narrative-disrupting artists, thinkers, designers, dancers, and musicians to Yale and New Haven from March 28th to April 3rd. Contemporary African artists reveal the inaccuracy of images of Africa as a culturally stagnant, tech-less, and solely rural space. From the continent’s biggest cities, the diaspora, and elsewhere, African artists tell stories of urban life, grapple with the complexity of identity, innovate through digital media, and infuse the traditional with their own contemporary references to push the boundaries of the arts and destabilize narrow preconceptions of Africa. Through exhibits, fashion shows, “unpanels,” film screenings, performances, a “Portal” to Kenya, and a tantalizing “African brunch,” AFRICA SALON creates a space where local communities can experience firsthand the stories, images, sounds, and even tastes of Africa’s current artistic and cultural landscape.

Here are some highlights of the 2016 lineup:

  • A Shared_Portal-a gold chamber equipped with audiovisual capabilities-connecting AFRICA SALON attendees with the Kwani? literary community in Nairobi, Kenya. Participants engage in intimate conversations and artistic exchanges (March 28th-April 3rd)
  • “mo(ve)ments: African Digital Subjectivities,” a visual art show that legitimates and foregrounds the use of technology as a means of accessing and experiencing contemporary African art on the continent and in the diaspora. The featured artists, who will lead conceptual tours before the exhibit reception on March 29th, include Nairobi creative duo 2 Many Siblings, South African photographer Kent Andreasen, Namibian researcher and artist Nicola Brandt, Kenyan artist Helen Harris, Austro-Nigerian visual artist David Uzochukwu,and Nigerian photographer William Ukoh (March 29th-March 31st)

    Africa Salon 2015

    Africa Salon 2015

  • Screenings of Horses of God, the award-winning Moroccan drama (March 28th); Sembene!, a documentary on the “father of African cinema,” Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène (March 30th); an exclusive version of the unreleased Pearl of Africa, a documentary on the Ugandan LGBT movement (April 1st); and episodes of Afripedia, the hip, vibrant series on creative scenes in five African capital cities (April 3rd)
  •  Co-sponsored with the Yale Council on African Studies, a lecture by Cameroonian philosopher, political scientist, and public intellectual Achille Mbembe at the Workshop in African Intellectual History (March 31st)
  • An AFRICA SALON version of international presentation platform Pecha Kucha featuring Erica James, Professor of Art History and African American Studies on contemporary African visual art and culture; the Yale University Art Gallery’s new African Art Curator Barbara Plankensteiner on the history and rethinking of Yale’s African Art collection; Tsedenya Simmie ’19, student photographer and Yale Artist to Watch on Textures of Life, an original photography project on Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Michael Veal, Professor of Music and African American Studies on African influences on musical, physical, and digital architecture (April 2nd)
  • An interactive fashion show featuring acclaimed menswear company Ikiré Jones and Yale alumni-founded couture brand House of Chihera(April 2nd)
  • Performances by Lacina Coulibaly, West African Dance Lecturer in Yale’s Theatre Studies program and dancer and choreographer for Faso Danse Theatre, a Burkina Faso-based dance company, and DZANA, Yale’s urban African dance troupe (April 2nd)
  • The AFRICA SALON Afterparty, taking over Atelier Florian for an African-style turn-up spun by DJ Kash of Aboki Entertainment (April 2nd)
  • An African Brunch Day Party catered by La Libela, New Haven’s home for Ethiopian delicacies; Brooklyn’s authentic Nigerian eatery Buka New York; and local Moroccan chefs Café Sophie (April 3rd) yale
  • A special performance by FOLKS, an organization of black artists at the Yale School of Drama, bringing to life Zimbabwean-American actress and playwright Danai Gurira’s In the Continuum, followed by a talkback and discussion, moderated by Hannah Giorgis of BuzzFeed.Students are especially invited to attend (April 3rd)
  • A concert at New Haven’s biggest music venue, College Street Music Hall, headlined by the legendary Thomas Mapfumo, known as “The Lion of Zimbabwe” for his immense talent and progressive political activism, and two rising stars of contemporary African music: Ghanaian-American hip hop and visual artist Blitz the Ambassador, favored in the New York City African music scene and beyond for his Afrobeat-infused rap, and Kenyan songstress Wambura Mitaru, who through her blend of traditional African sounds and upbeat soul inherits the legacy of singer-songwriters like Somi and Angélique Kidjo (April 3rd)

Find full lineup details here. All events are open to the public, and most events are free, but registration is required. Register here. For updates and more information, sign up for the AFRICA SALON newsletter.

AFRICA SALON is curated by Ifeanyi Awachie at the MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale and sponsored by Stephen and Ruth Hendel ’73, the Hendel Fund for Innovation in Africa, U.S. Department of Education Title VI National Resource Center, Yale Council on African Studies, Arts Discretionary Fund, Graduate and Professional Student Senate, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, and the Afro-American Cultural Center.

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