Wow! The year sure is flying by, and here is the beginning of the fall season already. But even though the cooler weather is beginning to make an appearance, and Halloween and the holidays will soon be upon us, it will not diminish the number of fantastic Afrocentric events, attractions and so forth coming our way to bring us to the end of this year and usher us into the next. Enjoy!
Through Oct. 20
“Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive” (Los Angeles)
Regarded as one of the foremost contemporary artists in Cuba and the Caribbean, Manuel Mendive “began his career in the early 1960s during a period when dominant Cuban abstract expressionism was waning, which paved new ground by moving beyond the reliance on mainstream Western art forms such as cubism and surrealism.”
Now through Oct. 20, the California African American Museum will present the exhibition, “Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive.” The exhibition—highlighted by drawings, paintings, sculptures and performances from the early 1960s to the present, giving special focus to discrete themes common across his work, including religion, nationalism and memory—features the 50-year career of this prominent Afro-Cuban artist, and is the first of its kind in the U.S. to focus exclusively on the contemporary visual and material culture of the Afro-Cuban religion, Santería.
Other events associated with the exhibition include “Black and Cuba,” a documentary following minority students who traveled from the Ivy League halls of Harvard University to Cuba.
Through Nov. 10
“American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s” (Washington, D.C.)
Held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibit—hailed as “an unprecedented artistic exploration of the intersections of race, gender and class made in direct response to social upheaval of the times”—encompasses some 45 works from artist Faith Ringgold’s landmark series “American People” (1963–67) and “Black Light” (1967–71), along with related murals and political posters. Together, they represent the first comprehensive survey of her politically charged paintings of the 1960s, which explores the emotional and often controversial issues at the forefront of the artist’s experience of racial inequality in our country at this historic and tumultuous time.
Through Dec. 29
“Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward” (Birmingham, Ala.)
The work of several of the world’s finest contemporary artists, including Theaster Gates, Hank Willis Thomas, Dawoud Bey, Jefferson Pinder and Shinique Smith, will be among the highlights of an unprecedented series of projects that uses contemporary art to tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in “Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward.” Presented at the Birmingham Museum Art, the projects are in commemoration of the nearly 50 years that have passed since a bomb blast ripped through the walls of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four innocent little girls as well as two boys in the resulting violence later that day. 205-254-2565, http://artsbma.org/artspeaks
- “Etched in Collective History” runs Aug. 18-Nov. 17.
- “Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project” runs Sept. 8-Dec. 2.
- “Question Bridge: Black Males” runs Oct. 6-Dec. 29.
Through Jan. 20, 2014
“Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm X Steles” (Philadelphia, Pa.)
Barbara Chase-Riboud is an internationally acclaimed visual artist and award-winning writer and poet, best known for her 1979 historical novel “Sally Hemings.” This exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art brings together more than 40 of her works from Europe and the U.S. It not only examines her artistic career, but focuses primarily on her important Malcolm X sculptures and drawings. All of her various works are lauded for their unique fusion of elements, her cultural, political and artistic life experiences and her interpretation of the context of the American Civil Rights Movement.
Oct. 22 through March 23, 2014
“Kongo Across the Waters” (Gainesville, Fla.)
Presented at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Fla., “Kongo Across the Waters” addresses the cultural and artistic themes within Kongo culture and its connections with African-American art and culture in the U.S. The exhibition will encompass five major themes: “Kongo and the Atlantic World,” “Kongo Across the Waters,” “Kongo in the Age of Empire,” “Kongo in African-American Cultures” and “Contemporary Kongo.” Each theme depicts a diverse aspect of this culture in terms of its history, archaeology, language, leadership, religion and more. This exhibition also coincides with the 500th commemoration of when Juan Garrido, the first African conquistador, came to the Americas.
2013 World Creole Music Festival (Dominica, the Caribbean)
Celebrating its 17th anniversary this year, the 2013 World Creole Music Festival is billed as one of the island’s top events. Featured headliners this year include Trinidadian soca artist Machel Montano, Jamaican dancehall artist Busy Signal and the legends of zouk, Kassav. Visitors from all around the world flock here each year to enjoy three nights of pulsating rhythms from an impressive lineup of Creole musical acts from all over the Caribbean islands. This year’s lineup features Dominica’s own Triple Kay Global, Ole Benz and Nayee. Great food and outdoor recreation on this beautiful island is also part of the celebration. 767-448-4833, www.wcmfdominica.com
Contemporary Art Fair NYC, American Fine Craft Show NYC & Art Off the Main (New York, N.Y.)
Now in its fourth year, the Contemporary Art Fair NYC, American Fine Craft Show NYC & Art Off the Main will feature some 200 artists and artisans in a three-day celebration of fine art and craft at the Javits Center. The organizers promise that visitors will see “the influence of craft on some art and vice versa” through the various works presented by sculptors, painters, photographers and artists working in mixed media, plus artisans dedicated to fashion, jewelry, accessories, furniture, ceramics, glass, wood, metal, textiles and a great deal more. Artists of Caribbean, African and Latin American ancestry are specifically features in the Art Off the Main portion of the event.
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at email@example.com