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Calendars at the ready! African art is coming your way this fall

Post by Evelyn Owen


This upcoming fall season in New York, there’s an exciting array of African art and culture on display. From contemporary dance to food festivals, there’s something for everybody. Here’s our pick of the bunch.


Several of the excellent dance programs listed below are part of FIAF’s “Crossing the Line” Festival—well worth checking out!


Faustin Linyekula


Faustin Linyekula performs "Banataba."

Faustin Linyekula in “Banataba.”


Congolese choreographer and dancer Faustin Linyekula is back in New York with a series of performances drawing on the turbulent history of his home country.

A new commission, “Banataba,” is inspired by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of art from the Kingdom of Kongo. A second piece, “In Search of Dinozord” is a “poetic, political fairy tale” delving into dreams and childhood memories.

Linyekula is also collaborating with 20 dancers from It’s Showtime NYC! to create “Festival of Dreams,” performative dialogues in Brooklyn and the Bronx, which are free!



Saturday, September 9, 2pm & 7pm    |    Sunday, September 10, 12pm & 3:30pm

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Tickets here.


In Search of Dinozord

Friday, September 22, 7:30pm    |    Saturday, September 23, 7:30pm

NYU Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets here.


Festival of Dreams

Saturday, September 23, 3pm, Roberto Clemente Plaza, The Hub, Third Ave, between 149th & 148th St South Bronx

Sunday, September 24, 3pm, Weeksville Heritage Center, 158 Buffalo Ave, Brooklyn

Event is free!


Nora Chipaumire: #PUNK


Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire

Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire


This US premiere promises a “riotous sonic and visual landscape” created and performed by Zimbabwean choreographer Nora Chipaumire, with inspiration from punk pioneer Patti Smith.


Nora Chipaumire: #PUNK

Thursday, September 14, 7:30pm    |    Friday, September 15, 7:30pm


Tinker Auditorium

55 East 59th Street, NYC

Tickets here.



Corbeaux (Crows)


Corbeaux (Crows) by Bouchra Ouizguen

Corbeaux (Crows) by Bouchra Ouizguen


Another US dance premiere, this time from Moroccan choreographer Bouchra Ouizguen, who brings a “living sculpture” to the Beaux-Arts Court at the Brooklyn Museum.

Saturday, September 30, 2017, 12pm and 4pm    |    Sunday, October 1, 2017, 3pm

Beaux-Arts Court, 3rd Floor, Brooklyn Museum, 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn

Free with museum admission.



Germaine Acogny: Sacré 2



Senegalese choreographer and dancer Germaine Acogny is widely considered the “mother of contemporary African dance.” Here she performs a solo interpretation of Stravinsky’s iconoclastic Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), created for her by Ballet du Nord provocateur Olivier Dubois.


Wednesday—Saturday, October 4—7,  7:30pm

BAM Fisher

321 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn

Tickets here.





[POSTPONED] Ifeoma Anyaeji: Nzuko Umuada (Meeting of the Many Daughters)


Sculpture by ifeoma Anyaeji

Ifeoma Anyaeji, “Umuada III,” detail, 2016.


Nigerian artist Ifeoma Anyaeji presents her third solo exhibition at Skoto Gallery, “Nzuko Umuada (Meeting of the Many Daughters).” Using techniques drawn from hair-braiding, basketry, and weaving, she transforms plastic bags and bottles into visual poetry.

Update: this exhibition has been postponed due to customs issues! Instead, Skoto will be opening an alternative group exhibition of gallery artists including Obiora Anidi, Mor Faye, George Afedzi Hughes, Donald Locke, Peter Wayne Lewis, Afi Nayo, Uche Okeke, Owusu-Ankomah and Tesfaye Tessema. Dates remain the same. 


September 14—October 21, 2017

Skoto Gallery

529 West 20th Street, 5th Floor

Tuesday through Saturday, 11am—6pm




Conversations in Patterns, Textiles, Figures and Portraits: Jamilla Okubo and Ify Chiejina


work by Jamilla Okubo, “Sista, The Alphabet is an Abolitionist”

Jamilla Okubo, “Sista, The Alphabet is an Abolitionist”


Now extended through October 9, this exhibition at Harlem-based Calabar Gallery features work by Kenyan American artist Jamilla Okubo and Nigerian American artist Ify Chiejina.


Through October 9

Calabar Gallery

2504 Frederick Douglass Blvd, Harlem

Call for opening hours: 646-964-5062




Axis Gallery 20th anniversary exhibitions


Axis Gallery is celebrating its 20th anniversary with two exhibitions featuring African contemporary artists from the gallery’s roster: Sammy Baloji, Bright Ogochukwu Eke, Gideon Mendel, Al Miller, Jebila Okongwu, Sue Williamson, Theo Eshetu, Graeme Williams, and Hervé Youmbi. Full details are yet to be released.


Liquid State: September 22—October 21

Unmasked: October 27—November 18

Axis Gallery

625 W. 27th Street, New York

12–6pm, Tues–Sat






Zanele Muholi work, "Sebenzile"

Zanele Muholi. Sebenzile, Parktown, 2016


Every two years, PERFORMA whirls through NYC bringing with it a host of performance events that leave disciplinary boundaries in tatters, and audiences thrilled, perturbed, and challenged. The upcoming biennial this November 1-19 promises an exciting African presence.

New commissions from artists including Yto Barrada, Julie Mehretu, Wangechi Mutu, and Tracey Rose will be presented under the umbrella of “AFROGLOSSIA,” a term coined by curator Adrienne Edwards to reference “polyglossia”—the “coexistence of multiple languages in one area”—while giving it an “afro” spin, pointing to the continent’s incredible complexities and multiplicities. And South African artists Zanele Muholi, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Nicholas Hlobo, William Kentridge, and Mohau Modisakeng will participate in a “South African Pavilion Without Walls,” curated by RoseLee Goldberg, the biennial’s Founding Director and Chief Curator.

The full program with dates has yet to be announced, but you can read more details in this announcement, and keep an eye on their website for further info.




Schoolgirls; or, The African Mean Girls Play


Rival teenage beauty queens battle it out at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school in this comedy from playwright Jocelyn Bioh.


November 2—December 10, 2017

MCC Theater, The Lucille Lortel Theatre, 121 Christopher Street

Tickets will be available here.






Between the Lines: My Soul Looks Back by Jessica B. Harris


Jessica B. Harris

Jessica B. Harris


Culinary historian, scholar of the African diaspora, cookbook author, and journalist Jessica B. Harris will be talking about her new memoir with Chef Carla Hall, co-host of ABC’s popular Emmy award-winning lifestyle series The Chew.


Wednesday, September 13, 2017, 6:30pm—8:30pm

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture

515 Malcolm X Boulevard, New York, NY 10037


RSVP here. (And if you can’t attend in person, the event will be livestreamed here!)



The World Music Institute does a fantastic job of bringing top African singers and bands to NYC—check out some of their concerts below.



Seun Kuti & Egypt 80 Band


Seun Kuti

Seun Kuti


Fela Kuti’s son Seun Kuti wears his father’s mantle, and plays with members of his original band, but also brings his own twist to the Afrobeat genre.


Wednesday, September 20, 2017, 8pm

Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn

Tickets here.



Mdou Moctar


Mdou Moctar

Mdou Moctar


Self-taught guitarist and songwriter Mdou Moctar pushes the boundaries of Tuareg music, incorporating electronic and rock influences. This is the Niger-born musician’s first ever performance in New York City.


Thursday, September 28, 2017, 7:30pm

David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center

Broadway between 62nd and 63rd Streets

Event is free!



Group Doueh


Group Doueh

Group Doueh


Group Doueh will bring their hypnotic rhythms and soaring vocals from Western Sahara to New York for this rare concert at Le Poisson Rouge. Husband-and-wife duo Salmou “Doueh” Bamaar and Halima Jakani are backed up by their sons in a family band that packs a serious punch.


Friday, September 29, 2017, 7:30pm

Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St, New York

Tickets here.

[See also under the FILM section for a documentary about the Doueh family’s daughter’s wedding!]








Sinkane’s danceable, percussion-heavy music comes via influences from the UK, Sudan, and the US. Sinkane/Ahmed Gallab is also the band leader and music director of the Atomic Bomb! Band which plays the music of Nigerian Electro-Funk Legend William Onyeabor.


Thursday, October 19, 2017, 8pm

Brooklyn Bowl, 61 Wythe Avenue, Brooklyn

Tickets here.



Habib Koité & Bamada


Habib Koité

Habib Koité


This Malian troubadour tunes his guitar to mimic the traditional sounds of the n’goni (a four-string lute) and kamele n’goni (young man’s harp).


Wednesday, November 8, 2017, 8pm

Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker St, New York

Tickets here.




Jordi Savall: The Routes of Slavery


The Routes of Slavery

The Routes of Slavery


Spanish early music specialist Jordi Savall is joined by musicians from Mali, Madagascar, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, and Colombia for this concert exploring the musical legacy of enslaved peoples around the world. Part of the White Light Festival.


Wednesday, November 17, 2017, 7:30pm

Rose Theater, Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall

Tickets here.




African Film Festival Family Day Celebration


African Film Festival Family Day

African Film Festival Family Day


The African Film Festival presents its annual family day on Governors Island, with short film screenings and fun activities including story-telling, double-dutch, dance and drum, and needlepoint.


September 24, 2017, 11am–5pm

Governors Island, Colonel’s Row, New York




Oulaya’s Wedding: Documentary Screening and Q&A


Still from the documentary Oulaya's Wedding

Oulaya’s Wedding (2017)


This documentary film follows the wedding of the eldest daughter of the Group Doueh family in Western Sahara. Combine with seeing the band perform at LPR on September 29! (See above under MUSIC.)


Monday, October 2, 2017, 7pm

The New School, 55 W 13th Street, Manhattan

Tickets here.



Congo in Harlem


This annual festival of Congolese cinema hadn’t announced its 2017 program at the time of writing, but we’re marking our calendars for October 19–22, 2017 in anticipation…





New York African Restaurant Week Festival


Plat of food at New York African Restaurant Week

New York African Restaurant Week


The flagship event of African Restaurant Week promises a day-long extravaganza of African food prepared by top chefs, fashion, arts, live music, and more… yum!


Sunday, October 8, 2017, 12:30pm—7pm

Industry City, 220 36th St #2-A, Sunset Park, Brooklyn

Tickets here.


  NYARW runs October 1—22, so be sure to check out all their other great events, including pop-up dinners, food tours, and tastings across the city.    





Nigerian Independence Parade


Nigeria Parade, 2016

Nigeria Parade, 2016


Hosted by the Organization for the Advancement of Nigerians (OAN), this annual parade marks Nigeria’s independence celebrations. Expect music, dance, food, and revelers decked out in their traditional finest! The parade is followed by a cultural night in Jamaica, Queens – details here.


Saturday, October 7, 2017, 11am

Second Ave, from 54th Street to 44th Street




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