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Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks at the Leimert Park Artwalk 2022

Clockwise from top left: Lula Washington Dancers perform in honor of Lark Galloway-Gilliam, Veronica Mayes-Jackson and Loretta Jones; Banner Art for the procession honoring Noni Olabisi (Man One); Barbara Morrison (Kayla Shelton); James F. Jones Jr. (Wendell Wiggins) and Derf Recklaw (Wendell Wiggins); New Orleans Brass Band bringing the Second Line to the procession; and masks created by Ranika Adachi and Beth Peterson.

This year, after two years online due to COVID, Day of the Ancestors: Festival of Masks at the Leimert Park Artwalk was back in person with a special emphasis on healing and uplifting specific members of our community who have passed on. To partner with us in this process, we recruited organizational partners to name ancestors to venerate in a community wide remembrance wholly in keeping with the values that have been at the heart of the Festival since the beginning. Artists and performers were then engaged to create works that reflected the spirit of these ancestors to be unveiled on Festival day.

The World Stage honoring Noni Olabisi, Powerful Artist Activist in collaboration with artist Man One and the all women’s drum group SHINE Muwasi.

Leimert Park Jazz Festival and Sutro Avenue Block Club honoring Derf Reklaw,

Multi-Talented Musical Genius, in collaboration with artist Wendell Wiggins and singer Dwight Trible.

Leimert Park Merchants Association honoring Barbara Morrison, Beloved International Jazz Legend, in collaboration with artist Kayla Shelton and The Harmony Project Drumline, Malia Pinkard, Timothy Morganfield, and Sylvia Boyd and Trio.

Black Women for Wellness honoring Veronica Mayes Johnson, Loretta Jones, and Lark Galloway-Gilliam in collaboration with artist Raycasso, Lula Washington Dance Theatre, and Children's Jazz Dance Ensemble.

ECWA honoring James F. Jones Jr. in collaboration with artist Wendell Wiggins and the New Orleans Brass Band, Torre Brannon Reese, and Everything with Soul.

All the effort and coordination culminated in a special day on June 26 in Leimert Park with performers and audience members coming together to pay tribute to the seven local ancestors who left indelible marks on our community. Everyone giving their all to lift up the theme UNITY + LEGACY = HEALING inspired one of our most meaningful events. View the Full Program here. Below are highlights from the day.


Opening Blessing

Rene “Mama Nene” Fisher Mims and Baba Imodoye Shabazz honor the significance of the day


Many joined in the Degnan Blvd. procession to celebrate ancestors with art, music and dance

Performances and Presentations

Performing to honor Noni Olabisi, SHINE Muwasi features her mural “To Protect and Serve”

Lula Washington Dance Theater Youth honor Lark Gilliam, Veronica Jackson and Loretta Jones

The incomparable Dwight Trible pays tribute to Derf Reclaw through song

Dancing to the sounds of the Sylvia Boyd and Trio in honor of Barbara Morrison

ECWA Neighborhood Council members present the legacy of honoree James F. Jones Jr.


A Dununba ended the day inviting everyone into the circle to dance together (footage at video end).

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