Dance Africa Bazaar - Field Report - Jade Banks


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This field report from Jade Banks of Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center focuses on the 2009 Dance Africa Festival and Bazaar in New York City.

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Dance Africa Bazaar - Field Report - Jade Banks

  1. 1. Will to Adorn Research New York City The Arts of dress and adornment in African American culture are more than simply statements of personal taste and sense of style…
  2. 2. Fieldwork Mind-Builders, May 2009 Dance Africa Festival and Bazaar Founded in 1977, DanceAfrica features dance companies from across the African Diaspora that come to New York City to shake the stage of the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM). A Memorial Day weekend tradition for over 32 years, this African heritage and community celebration is packed with traditional and contemporary African dance, music, art, and film events. It is also famous for its outdoor bazaar, which features over 250 vendors from around the world and reportedly attracts more than 30,000 shoppers for the three- day event. Photographer and artist Jade D. Banks chose the DanceAfrica Bazaar as a research field for the “Will to Adorn” project because she knew – as part of the African American community, herself – that many communities of style would be present at the African (American) marketplace. Photographer: Jade D. Banks (left) with dancer and choreographer Obediah Wright.
  3. 3. Norman Messiah is an artisan of style. He purportedly paints on every surface he can find. Mr. Messiah decorated these shoes and glasses (his specialty – for which he has become well-known in NYC). On this day, however, he was a shopper at the Bazaar.
  4. 4. Hats Left and right: Artisans of style who were also vendors of these hats. Note: The hats contract into a cylinder when not worn. Right: Shoppers at the Bazaar who described their respective styles as “afrocentric” (traditional African wear combined with contemporary American clothing.)
  5. 5. Hairstyles Above: Sani-Abu Mohammed Above: Artisan of style and Allen, a Nigerian dance vendor - sporting a educator, performer and contemporary and cultural choreographer of the Ijo look of dreadlocks with a Vudu dance company, shaved head. wears a “dreadlocked Mohawk.” This hairstyle Left: ShopperOmena El, is/was also worn by the dancer and choreographer, Mandinka of West Africa. dons a faux Mohawk of natural hair on the top and baby twists on the side.
  6. 6. Vendor of contemporary clothing made Artisan of style, jewelry maker and vendor of African and natural fabrics – designed - she calls her hairstyle “a pyramid.” for the professional woman.
  7. 7. Osunyoyin, Above: shopper and Yoruba priestess of Osun. (The Yoruba people are a Nigerian ethnic group). She wears the Above:A Rastafarian wearing a colors orange and traditional Rasta knit cap of ites gold to honor her (red), gold and green –Pan orisha. Her hair is African colors. combined with synthetics to Shopper with contemporary, Right: create the style. lightened and manicured dreadlocks.
  8. 8. Below: A shopper combines styles – Afrocentric and boho chic – to create a uniquely personalized look. She also sports a completely shaved head, which also makes her look “artsy.” Above: Senegaleseartisan of style, jewelry-maker and Above:African- vendor in his everyday American family in clothes (traditional West traditional West African wear). African dress, which gives them a festive look at the Bazaar.
  9. 9. Artisan of style and vendor of unique, Contemporary chic shopper trying on a Afrocentric and artsy designs made from jacket to find the perfect fit… His recycled items. Note: Her styles are sneakers also give him a boho effect. both contemporary and “throwback.”
  10. 10. Michael Manswell, artistic director of the dance Shoppers in personalized mixtures of company “Something Positive,” is seen here as a communities of style: Rastafarian, shopper. He has a unique look, encompassing European/Brixton, boho, and a Greenwich many communities of style – old man sharp (hat), Village/New York City look. boho (jacket and T-shirt) and Afrocentric (pants and shoes).
  11. 11. Obediah Wright, dancer and Lakai Worrell, dancer and choreographer, choreographer wears traditional African sports a contemporary revolutionary dress with contemporary, colored and look - manicured dreadlocks with a manicured dreadlocks. “Black Panther Party” T-shirt. (Note: The Black Panther Party is an African-American revolutionary left-wing organization working for the self-defense for black people - particularly in the 1960s-70s),
  12. 12. Above:Yvonne is an artisan of style for God-S, which offers hand-painted apparel and accessories emblazoned with positive images of women of African descent. She is sporting a contemporary, Afrocentric style (decorated T-shirt and decorated denim clothing with natural twists of hair). Right: Sofia Coffee, artisan of style and vendor, creates earrings made from political buttons and historically-significant images.
  13. 13. Teaty of Sistaphyre Kreations - artisan of style, jewelry Vendor of Unique Designed Jewelry and the “Fly designer and silversmith. Girl Jumbo Feather Earrings.” Below: Vendor of Adiva Natural Hair and Skin Care Below: Shoppers enjoying a bounty of crafted Products - wearing a contemporary, cultural and natural jewelry and clothing… look of manicured and colored dreadlocks.
  14. 14. Items for sale Shop, shop, shop! Buy, buy, buy!