Arts of Africa Festival
Join us for an afternoon of African-inspired food, music, storytelling, and surprising conversations with curators and blacksmiths. Programs for all ages will spark curiosity about the impact of art in communities far away and how it shapes our own daily lives.
1–1:30pm | Summoning the Ancestors
Cast-metal bells from Nigeria are full of secrets that belie their simple forms. How were they made? By whom? Who owned them and for what purposes? Were they always used as sounding instruments or for something else? Guest curator Dr. Nancy Neaher Maas explores these mysteries and more.
2–3:30pm | Striking Iron
Experience the works on view in Striking Iron through the eyes of contemporary blacksmiths, who will discuss the technical details and artistic expression of select works on view. Afterward they will perform a live forging demonstration!
3:30–4pm | World on the Horizon
Associate Curator of African Arts Erica P. Jones presents a history of the Indian Ocean world through five select objects on view.
1–4pm | Mbira-Making Workshop
Build and decorate your very own 5-note thumb piano (mbira) before learning how to compose and play several short songs with world music educator Dr. Craig Woodson.
1:30–2pm | Story Time
Set out on a counting journey with Maasai friends through the grasslands of Tanzania in We All Went on Safari by Laurie Krebs (2004). Learn to count from one to ten in both English and Swahili while encountering all sorts of animals in our special exhibition World on the Horizon.
1:30–5pm | Learn and Play with Southern Nigerian Bells
Discover the variety and significance of bronze bells on view in Summoning the Ancestors before playing a selection of bronze bells with Fowler Educators. Often stretching our expectations of what a bell is, these instruments range in size and decoration—perfect for even the littlest learners!
3:30–4pm | Family-Friendly Tour: Striking Iron
Explore the vital role of iron artworks during this family-friendly guided tour of our special exhibition Striking Iron.
4–4:30pm | Storytelling with Dena Atlantic
Discover the powerful stories behind African iron forging as acclaimed storyteller Dena Atlantic performs an interactive narrative inspired by Striking Iron.
Food, Forging, and Music!
2–3:30pm | Iron Forging Demonstration
Following their Gallery Talk in Striking Iron, the blacksmith artists of LA-based Adam’s Forge will present a live forging demonstration just outside the Museum.
2–4pm | Tastes of Africa
Sample bites and sips from across the continent provided by Dora’s African Produce, Revolutionario North African Tacos, and others.
3-4pm | Concert: Nsimbi
Incorporating the acoustic sounds and indigenous instruments from Africa, Nsimbi blends elements of hip-hop and spoken word with English songwriting and vocals to create a global sound anchored in the rich messages of ancient universal East African proverbs and folklore.
Parking available in UCLA Lot 4, 398 Westwood Plaza, directly off Sunset Blvd | $12/day. Rideshare drop-off 305 Royce Drive.