Maafa: Experience – Annual Side-by-Side Maafa Exhibition
Through August 31, 2019
Ashé Cultural Arts Center, 1712 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., NOLA
Curator: Gason Ayisyin
The focus of this year’s exhibition is the individuals from all walks of life who annually convene for Maafa. Past Maafa exhibitions have celebrated other themes; however, it’s the attendees that bring Maafa to life. They are the dancers, drummers, activists, students and quiet observers; they are the children and elders, the locals and global travelers. We seek to highlight what drives their participation, their lasting memories and the impact on their lives.
CURATORIAL STATEMENT -
Since 2000, Ashe Cultural Arts Center has hosted the Maafa Commemoration, an experience that has grown over the course of nearly two decades to a highly anticipated summer event. Maafa, or great tragedy, is an academic term coined by Dr. Marimba Ani, and there are many Maafa commemorations throughout the United States. Whether it’s in Alabama, New York or Louisiana, Maafa has the unifying themes of remembrance and love, though the tone of each celebration will mirror its location and participants.
In particular, the New Orleans Maafa Commemoration has all the elements of a moving historical and spiritual experience. It’s a historic city with historic neighborhoods and a plethora of landmarks, music, art and more. All of these elements converge onto the Maafa experience to create a truly special moment. However, the moment would not, be what it is without the energy that people bring to the event: the beat of their drums, the melodies of their voices, their burning sage, their meditations and prayers.
This year’s exhibit highlights the Maafa experience through the lens of the attendee. Artists are invited to consider the following questions: What makes an attendee travel to Maafa? Why do many attendees come year after year? What does Maafa instill within them and how are these values outwardly manifested in their everyday lives?