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2022 Festival of Masks Program UNITY + LEGACY = HEALING

12th Annual

Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

at the Leimert Park Art Walk

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Welcome to our 12th installment of Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks at the Leimert Park Art Walk. As we still struggle with the global pandemic, this year’s theme, Unity + Legacy = Healing brings the community together to connect to ancestors and the related strategies and practices from across the African Diaspora to promote healing, wellness, intergenerational connection and a strengthened sense of belonging.

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, multigenerationa arts event that champions the vast identities of the African diaspora.

Thank you for joining us! 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, after two years online due to COVID, we are back in person with a special emphasis on healing and uplifting specific members of our community who have passed on. Organizational partners have named ancestors to venerate in a community wide remembrance wholly in keeping with the values that have been at the heart of Day of the Ancestors since the beginning as we engage local artists and culture bearers in leading the collective creative process and 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, in the procession through our streets, symbolizing the people's power and capacity to take ownership over our communities, address challenges, and create change and in the performances following. In the words of this year’s Artistic Director, Tamica Washington-Miller, we are exploring the connections from ancestral African roots through slavery, to the Black churches, hip-hop and vogue dance cyphers of today and creating a time to be fully human, to be fully expressive, to cry, to hollar/shout, to laugh, to move, to share news. To mourn. To celebrate. We all need this more than ever.

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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 expression that tells their unique stories and serve as a basis for dialogue, interaction, understanding and organizing for a more just and equitable Los Angeles.


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.


Five Leimert Park neighbor organizations nominated ancestors to honor at

the 2022 Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

The World Stage honoring

Noni Olabisi

Powerful Artist Activist

artwork by Man One

One of LA’s most significant muralists of the last 30 years, Noni Olabisi created works that lift up the people’s voices and illuminate the streets and alleys of Los Angeles with power and love. Her art is seen and enjoyed by thousands at William Grant Still Art Center, Angeles Mesa Library, CD 8 offices, Augustus Hawkins High School and other locations. In an artist statement Noni wrote, “The Yellow Dot on mostly everything I paint is a representation of the Sun within as well as without.”

Leimert Park Jazz Festival and Sutro Avenue Block Club honoring

Derf Reklaw

Multi-Talented Musical Genius

artwork by Wendell Wiggins

Born in Chicago, prodigiously talented Derf Recklaw was dubbed “Mr Encyclopedia” by classmates and friends. Although he started on the flute, he became an incredible and sought after multi-instrumentalist who made it big in his hometown playing with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Phil Upchurch and Donny Hathaway but became even bigger when he moved to LA in 1979. He toured with major talents including Aretha Franklin, released critically acclaimed albums, was featured in movies and was a beloved fixture in his Leimert Park neighborhood.

Leimert Park Merchants Association honoring

Barbara Morrison

Beloved International Jazz Legend

artwork by Kayla Shelton

Michigan born Barbara Morrison began lighting up the stage at age 10 with a radio gig in Detroit. Coming to LA in 1973, she launched a 5 decade singing career that saw her recording and performing around the world with a who's who of musical luminaries including Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Johnny Otis, Tony Bennett, Ray Charles, Etta James and Lou Rawls. Despite her fame, she loved being part of the Leimert Park community where the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center will continue her legacy.

Black Women for Wellness honoring

Veronica Mayes Jackson

Kitchen Diva

artwork by Raycasso

Veronica Mayes Jackson was the founder of Black Women for Wellness’ Kitchen Diva program, a lynchpin in the organization's commitment to furthering the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment and advocacy. She was an amazing proponent of community-based cooking classes guiding her students in preparing and taste-testing delicious and healthy appetizers, meals, and desserts while learning about food purchasing, ways to extend food shelf life and other ways cooking can further wellness.

Loretta Jones

Passionate Health Equity Advocate

Loretta Jones founded Healthy African American Families in 1992 based on her personal commitment to improving lives. She also worked as associate director of an institute at UCLA where in 2017, she was awarded the university’s highest honor, the UCLA Medal. Chancellor Gene Block said, “By addressing health disparities and promoting health equity — insisting that good health should be a right for all, not just a privilege for the lucky few — she has raised the public profile of healthcare access as a true social justice issue.”

Lark Galloway-Gilliam

Inspiring Visionary and Community Organizer

Lark Galloway-Gilliam, inspired by the 1992 LA Rebellion, founded Community Health Councils to address the growing health crisis in her South LA community with planning, resource development and policy education. Her emphasis was to engage communities and strengthen the connections among organizations in order to eliminate health disparities. She was a Principal Investigator on several National and Federal grants, published and peer reviewed in a number of local, national and global health periodicals and served as an advisor to a host of institutions around the world.

ECWA(Empowerment Congress West Area Neighborhood Development Council) honoring

James F. Jones Jr.

Barrier Breaking Engineer

artwork by Wendell Wiggins

Despite almost insurmountable odds, James F Jones Jr. became the first Black engineer hired at Lockheed Martin. Arriving home from the service, he wanted an engineering degree from the University of Arizona. He fought an administration that believed “your people do better as teachers ” and was finally accepted, graduating first in his class. Offered a job in LA, he discovered, on arrival, the position was “filled” because of his race. He persistently went to Lockheed Martin paving the way for all the other Black engineers that followed.


2022 Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks

at the Leimert Park Art Walk

Sunday, June 26, 2022



Land Acknowledgement: Tamica Washington-Miller

Blessing and Libations: Imodoye Shabazz

Call to Engage with Purpose: Rene Fisher-Mims

1:00 PM


We continue in the tradition of stopping at the FOUR Corners and giving an offering of acknowledgment and celebration, a call to action, and a prayer or vision for the future of our city.


Malik Sow, Master Drummer

Fode Sissoko, Stilter and Master Drummer


Unity, Legacy and Healing Masks, Sankofa Youth Leaders

Daansekou, Daunte Fyall

The World Stage - Honoring Noni Olabisi

Banner by artist Man One

S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi

Friends and family of Noni Olabisi

Leimert Park Jazz Festival and Sutro Block Club - Honoring Derf Reklaw

Banner by artist Wendell Wiggins

Leimert Park Jazz Festival

Sutro Block Club

Dwight Trible and “folk”

Friends and family of Derf Reklaw

Leimert Park Merchants Association - Honoring Barbara Morrison

Banner by artist Kayla Shelton

The Harmony Project Drumline, Malia Pinkard, Program Director

Timothy Morganfield, The Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center

Friends and family of Barbara Morrison

Black Women for Wellness - Honoring Veronica Mayes Johnson, Loretta Jones, and Lark Galloway-Gilliam

Banner by artist Raycasso

Black Women for Wellness, Jan Robinson Flint, Executive Director

Lula Washington Dance Theatre - Youth Dance Ensemble

Friends and family of Veronica Mayes Johnson, Loretta Jones, and Lark Galloway-Gilliam

ECWA - Honoring James F. Jones Jr.

Banner by artist Wendell Wiggins

New Orleans Brass Band

Torrence Brannon Reese

Everything with Soul

Marie Kellier, Carnival of the Caribbean

2:00 - 4:00PM


Host: Gina M. Fields

Karen Mack, LA Commons

Ben Caldwell, KAOS Network

Barbara Fant, Poet


Honors Veronica Mayes Jackson, Loretta Jones, Lark Gilliam

Lula Washington Dance Theater - Youth Dance Ensemble


Honors Noni Olabisi

S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi, Rene Fisher-Mims


Honors Derf Reklaw

Dwight Trible and Trio


Honors Barbara Morrison

Sylvia Boyd and Trio

ECWA (Empowerment Congress West Area)

Honors James F. Jones Jr

Torrence Brannon-Reese and Everything with Soul

Following the Mask Festival, stay on in Leimert Park for

The Rhythm Arts Alliance, Jahanna Blunt



DUNUNBA (or Doundounba) is a traditional West African rhythm and dance known as the dance of the strong man. Performed in a community circle, it showcases the heritage and culture of Africans and African Americans and the values of strength, agility, vitality, connection, communication, creativity and holistic health. Highly significant, it has been practiced for many centuries by various ethnic groups in West Africa (this version hails from Guinea) and brings the community together to showcase the artists and uplift shared values and traditions.




Crenshaw Walks

Dr. Randall Henry, Founder and Chief of Community Intelligence

Wellness Workshops

May 14: Sound Meditation with Britt Blackwell

May 21: Yoga with Chelsea Gabrielle and Crenshaw Yoga and Dance

May 28: Meditation with Anbiya Smith

June 4: Breath Work with Akua Danielle

June 11: Ayurveda and Mind-Body Connection through Nature with Dr. Kadiatou Sibi

June 18: African Adornment with Elzariyah G.

June 25: Hair Ceremony with Nappily Naturals

West African Dance

Daunté "KINGTAE" Fyall and DAANSEKOU

Ancestor Mask Making

Ranika Adachi

Maria Elena Cruz

African Drumming with Mama Nene

Rene Fisher-Mims, Founder of S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi

at the World Stage


Youth Mentor

Anbiya Smith

Sankofa Youth Leaders

Aisha Cooper

Marquell Eason

Nichole Jones

Jenny Lopes

Kimoni Z. Oliver

Tyler Denise

Amara Ceriah McDuffie

Jade Isaac Newsome

Zaire Pitamba Thurston

Denise Courseault

Naomi Rush

Clearance McDuffie III

Azza Spivey

Noah Rush

Renee Wiggins

Senseni Ma'at

Nalini Sadler

Rodrigo G. Pineda

Indeya Eubank

Kennady Bob

Daniel Rush

Miracle Varnado


Ranika Adachi

Ben Caldwell

Rene Fisher-Mims

Tasha Hunter

Karen Mack

Toran X. Moore

Pastor Kelvin Sauls


Tamica Washington-Miller, Mask Festival Artistic Director

Joyce Maddox, Mask Festival Event/Production Manager

Tasha Hunter, Mask Festival Procession Manager

Shani Hogan, Mask Festival Production Coordinator

David Jackson, Instrument Audio Services, Sound and Audio

Melanesia Hunter, Leimert Park Cultural Organizer

Imani Fullwilder, Leimert Park Cultural Organizer

LA Commons Staff

Karen Mack, Executive Director

Afrika Bakenra, Operations Specialist

Angel Ponce, Program Intern

Beth Peterson, Community Arts Program Director

Blaze Bautista, Executive Assistant

Elizabeth Cho, Program Manager - Partnerships

Hannah Chua, Operations and Research Associate

Jackie Hernandez, Senior Cultural Organizer

Kaitwan Jackson, Program Manager - Promise Zone Arts South LA

Leslie Tamaribuchi, Operations and Strategy Director

Maeve Atkinson, Development and Campaign Coordinator

Susie Garcia, Operations Coordinator


Erika Cabrera-Moriyama

Joyce Guy

Nickie Johnson-Ahorlu

Malik Sow

Los Angeles Third Church for Spiritual Living

The Office for support through Artists at Work, their visionary workforce resilience program designed to support the rebuilding of healthy communities through artistic civic engagement. Learn more about artist Kayla Shelton's Leimert Park Residency with partner Community Intelligence and Rene Fisher-Mims Leimert Park Residency with partner Wellnest.


ECWANDC, Gina Fields

Leimert Jazz Festival and Block Club, Diane Robertson

The World Stage, Dwight Trible and Rene Fisher-Mims

Black Women for Wellness, Janette Robinson Flint

Leimert Park Merchants Association, Adé E. Neff


County of Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture

City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs

Kaiser Permanente


California Wellness

Artists At Work


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