Saturday 5 May 2012

Ghariokwu headlines charity show for Haiti

By Tajudeen Sowole
(First published On Thursday, February 4, 2010)

The African Activists Association, University of California, (UCLA) Los Angeles, U.S.A. will stage an exhibition featuring the works of painter and design artist, Lemi Ghariokwu.

Billed for Neuroscience Research Building Auditorium inside the UCLA campus, the show is part of the art, music, poetry and dance event titled Spoken Word and Performance Art Benefit For Haiti.

The organizers noted that Ghariokwu's choice for the show was as a result of being "a profound artist and activist who has designed more than 2,000 album covers."

Ghariokwu's work has continued to attract attention in the West, especially because of its focus on subject of various retrospective events, particularly Afro beat nature. He is on the newest edition of "WaxPoetics" Magazine, and the Phaidon Press' list of 100 emerging and influential graphic designers in the world.

His painting Anoda Sistem, (2002), is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MOMA), among several records of his in the U.S. Ghariokwu holds a dual lifetime membership of the museum.

Currently in Manchester, U.K. on a tour which includes Birmingham where he had a Talk/Workshop with the students of African Culture at Birmngham University, Ghariokwu

said, "I feel strongly we in Africa need to learn to contribute and give back at times of dire needs of fellow human beings." The charity show for Haiti, he declared, is a great opportunity for people like me to put our money where our mouths are; touching the lives of Haitians."

The show, according to the co-host and dancer, Nigerian-born Deborah Dauda, will feature performances such as music from what she called "big names, little names: it's all love." These are Brasilian carnival group, Swing Brazil Tribe, a collective of dancers, musicians, and cultural activists led by Vida Vierra and Dani Lunn; Kenyan Singer, Nasambu whose song featured in the award-winning film Sabar - Life Is A Dance; Japanese Taiko Drumming Ensemble from UCLA; Nabtry Dancers, featuring Deborah Dauda special rendition of classic and contemporary Soukous.

Also in the show are stand-up comic acts such as Brenda Lamberty, Jessica Lovelace-Chandler hosts of numerous comedy shows in Los Angeles, Adam Epplebaum, Brady Kephart, and Perry Kurtz.

Poetry segment of the event hosted by Cassandra Tesch features Haitian Olympic athlete, Anderson Vilien; Haitian poet, Bobby Gordon and Coordinator for UCLA's Help Haiti; Rezin, a poet and graffit Muralist form Mississippi; Rayed Khedher, Tunisian poet who inspires with original work in Arabic and English.

Other poets are Jeanelle Fu, Lovensky Jean-Baptiste Danielle Deruiter-Williams and Katherin Dephanger.

Dauda noted that the African Activists Association at UCLA is committed to generating cultural and political awareness about Africa and its Diasporas. "We achieve this by organizing annual student colloquiums that bring together new scholarship pertaining to various topics on the countries of Africa; organize quarterly African Film Screenings, Spoken Word and Performance Art benefits, gallery exhibitions, and other means through which we seek to counter some of the misrepresentations of Africa and the world in general in popular media."

Ghariokwu's tour in the U.S., he said, would include being a guest at the Zanzibar Nite Club on Afrofunke night in LA, February 10; and dinner with the A-list people behind Fela On Broadway.

Dauda recalled that she began dancing in her mother's womb, and never stopped moving ever since. "As a Yoruba-Hausa artist from Nigeria, my passion for dance is influenced by numerous African artists, including Fela Kuti, Dr.Alban, Angelique Kidjo, BANTU, Lagbaja, Daddy Showkey, Youssouf N'Dour, King Sunny Ade, and Awilo Logomba."

After immigrating to the United States in 2001, her career in West African style dance continued to flourish. She has performed at numerous venues, including for Zap Mama, Pangea Collective, Baba Ken Okunlolo, Soji Odukogbe, Mami Wata Festival at UCLA with Los Angeles Based Congolese band Balobi Bandeko, and Seun Kuti in both Los Angeles and Accra, Ghana.

Currently, she performs with multiple bands in the Los Angeles area and continues to work with DJ Nnamdi Moweta from KPFK 90.7 Radio Afrodicia. When not dancing, Deborah synergizes her passion for health and the arts as co-chair of the African Activists Association and is hard at work on an MA in African Studies with a focus on the reproductive health of women in conflict

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