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FESTAC ’77 Celebration in New York City (23 – 25 October 2019)

From 23 – 25 October 2019, Chimurenga will install its Pan African Space Station (PASS) at The New School’s Arnold and Sheila Aronson Galleries, New York City. 

The three-day broadcast, which will run from 3pm – 7pm (EDT) daily, will explore the participation of African American artists, activists and intellectuals in the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture, FESTAC ’77, held in Lagos, Nigeria, in January-February 1977. The nearly 700-strong US delegation at FESTAC ’77 was “the largest single group of African Americans ever to return to Africa in one body” (Ebony Magazine), and featured luminaries such Sun Ra, Stevie Wonder, Audre Lorde, Alice Walker, Jayne Cortez, Barkley Hendricks, Betye Saar, Louis Farrakhan, Faith Ringgold and many, many more. The poet Kalamu ya Salaam described the event as “the culmination of the Black Art Movement oriented artistic conferences, festivals, and gatherings”.   

The PASS landing at The New School will close on 25 October with a rare performance of composer and trombonist Craig Harris’ jazz suite titled FESTAC ’77 at the John L. Tishman Auditorium. Harris travelled to Lagos as a member of Sun Ra’s Arkestra, and this composition responds to that soul-stirring experience. The concert is free and open to the public, however seating is limited. To book please go to: http://bit.ly/FESTAC77

This event will also include a presentation of Chimurenga’s new book on FESTAC ’77, the first publication to consider FESTAC in all its cultural-historic complexity, addressing the planetary scale of the event alongside the personal and artistic encounters it made possible.

(Photograph: Calvin Reid, African-American delegation at FESTAC. Lagos, Nigeria, 1977)

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