2021 Festival of Masks PROGRAM
11TH ANNUAL LEIMERT PARK
DAY OF THE ANCESTORS: FESTIVAL OF MASKS
Thiossane: Looking Back, Moving Forward
SUNDAY, JUNE 27, 2021, 12PM PT
Welcome to the 11th Annual Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks at the Leimert Park Art Walk. This year at Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks, experience Thiossane, the Senegalese way of taking cues from the past to live well in the present.
Leimert Park's Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks is an annual celebration of our ancestors and an invocation for the South Central LA community. Founded in 2010 by artists Najite Agindotan and Ben Caldwell in collaboration with LA Commons, Festival of Masks is a multicultural, multigenerational, and multimedia arts event that champions the vast identities of the African diaspora.
Thank you for joining us as we continue the Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks online to celebrate the rich traditions of the African Diaspora and connect you with Black creatives from across the globe, as we prepare for and transition toward the reopening and reconnection ahead. Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks is the artistic culmination of months of work to explore art and ideas and connect to the African diaspora through a procession and festival on the streets of Leimert Park Village, the cultural heart of Black Los Angeles. Artists and culture bearers lead workshops inviting people of all ages to spend time communing with their ancestors, making masks and giant puppets and learning movement, rhythm and song. Festival day is a joyful spectacle and spiritual experience that uplifts individual expression and collective creativity and brings the community together across generations, in a celebration of multiplicity and unity.
This year, we presented a series of online experiences to create these cultural connections. Online Festival of Masks Cultural Arts Workshop participants included local youth (Sankofa Leaders) and community members near and far. Through a series of Diaspora Dialogues, we brought together artists and culture-bearers across oceans to engage in intimate conversation, sharing creative practices and wisdom that speak to this time.
Upholding the values that have been at the heart of Day of the Ancestors, we honor the ancestors by supporting local artists and culture bearers in opportunities for exchange with artists from across the Diaspora; and by involving local youth as apprentices, learning from these creators with a focus on the cultural traditions powering the practice. We recognize our young people as visionaries, and support them in developing skills and resilience to create the future.
We welcome your participation! Share with us how you have been connecting to the culture this year and how your ancestors help you to live well in the present.
We invite you to join in the blessing and libation ceremony, invoking community reflection and healing. And envision together with us a procession through our streets, symbolizing the people's power and capacity to take ownership over our communities, address challenges, and create change.
Share your ancestor stories, mask pictures, community love, cultural inspiration and tag:
Click UNDERLINED links in the program below for bios, interviews and more!
Some recordings shared as part of this event are archival, others were created for the Festival under diverse conditions. As festival organizers, we urge everyone to honor your ancestors, love your community and wear a mask.
Headquartered in Leimert Park, LA Commons, a project of Community Partners, works in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles facilitating issue-driven public art projects that inspire creativity in everyone. We engage communities in artistic and cultural expressions that tell their unique stories and serve as a basis for dialogue, interaction, understanding and organizing for a more just and equitable Los Angeles.
LEIMERT PARK ARTWALK
Leimert Park Village has a long history of being the center of African American arts and culture. Held on the last Sunday of each month, Leimert Park Artwalk invites the public to share a day of art exhibitions, music, fashion, food, drumming, spoken word, and local shopping. Throughout the day, cultural spaces, artist studios, and storefronts in the village also have offerings ranging from free computer seminars and specialty vendors to film screenings, youth theater performances, and live bands.
Festival of Masks Leadership Circle
Toran X. Moore
Pastor Kelvin Sauls
Cultural Advisor: Malik Sow
Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks
Looking Back, Moving Forward
Host: Bruce Lemon, Jr.
Baba Imodoye Shabazz
with Anbiya Smith
Karen Mack, LA Commons
Ancestral Poem by S. Pearl Sharp
THIOSSANE: Leimert Park Village: Honoring Our Ancestors and Looking to Our Future
Queen Beverly Brewster
Queen Nzingha Camara
Queen Nzingha Ejukwa
Queen Sharon Givens
Queen Egyptia Lewis
Akerele Sekou Batiste Williams
Stephanie Batiste Williams
Kevin Wharton Price ATC
Akil West, SF
Luna and Luna
@Wilburn Sister’s Design Wardrobe
And Leimert Park Community Members
Traveling to Africa - Nigeria - Yoruba Culture
Olokun Cultural Group
Aaron C. Mason
Community Libations -Calling the Ancestors
Pastor Kelvin Sauls and Malik Sow
Ancestor Masks and Sankofa Procession
SANKOFA Youth Leaders
Clarence McDuffie III
Zoë Giovanna Landry
Past into Future
Lula Washington Dance Theater
If you’re waiting for the sky to split
by Triniti Daniel Robinson
Erin Wimberly, We Love Leimert
Drums: Greg Paul
Percussion: Ahmad Dubose
Bass: Marlon Spears
Keys: Brian Hargrove
Saxophone: David Otis
Trumpet: Emile Martinez
Sousaphone: Corbin Joness
2021 Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks
Maria Elena Cruz
Rene Fisher Mims
Juneteenth Workshop Associates
2021 Diaspora Dialogues
Diaspora Dialogue: Senegal
Malik Sow and Magatte Fall
Moderated by Karen Mack
Diaspora Dialogue: Visual Arts and Dogon Cosmology
Aziz Diagne and Abdullah Latif Tounkara
Moderated by Brittney Price
Diaspora Dialogue: Proudly Black!
Sonny Moore and Melanesia Hunter
2021 Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks
at the Leimert Park Art Walk
Digital Event Design and Production
Toran X. Moore, Producer/Production Manager
Travone Evans, Editor/Videographer/Broadcast Lead
Lynzie Glover, Editor/Videographer/Production Associate
Marcus A. Hughes, Editor/Livestream Manager
Obi Oti, Production Assistant
Sierra Narciese, Production Assistant Monece Starling, Production Assistant
Terrika Stallworth, Production Assistant
Erin Wimberly, Digital Technician
Laini Wimberly, Engagement
Photography: Halline Overby, Marcus A. Hughes
Graphic Design: Brittney Price and Julie Ray
LA Commons Staff
Maeve Atkinson, Development and Campaign Coordinator
Afrika Bakenra, Operations Specialist
Sandi Garcia, Program and Communications Coordinator
Susie Garcia, Operations Coordinator
Karen Mack, Executive Director
Toran X. Moore, Production Manager
Beth Peterson, Community Arts Programs Director
Leslie Tamaribuchi, Director, Strategy and Operations
Many thanks to our partners! This work is ours together, to be continued!
The World Stage
The Right Way Foundation
We Love Leimert
Lula Washington Dance Theater
African American Cultural Center of Long Beach
The Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks
was made possible with the support of
L.A. Care Health Plan
California Arts Council
City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs
County of Los Angeles, Department of Arts and Culture
Herb Alpert Foundation