Xica Nation had the pleasure of connecting with Obafemi Ogunleye, a Nigerian-American, or Yorùbá lifelong student, independent arts program director, and founder of San Antonio non-profit organization in San Antonio named, Òlàjú Art Group.
This Saturday, January 18th they will be hosting the 2020 African Market Festival at the Brick at Blue Star Arts Complex in San Antonio, and we spoke to Obafemi about the event.
From the official Facebook page:
In association with the DreamWeek annual summit, Òlàjú Art Group presents the 2020 African Market Festival on Saturday, January 18th. During this one-day event, festival goers will experience a mix of contemporary art, fashion, food, music, and shopping by African creatives curated to highlight our diverse cultures.
Conceptually, the ‘African Market’ is a pop-up installation where participants can shop from premium vendors, engage with creative arts, and learn about a wide range of culturally relevant topics.
5PM- Doors Open
6PM- Opening Remarks and African Dance Performance
8-8:30PM- Fashion Showcase
9PM- Closing Remarks
9-10PM- African Dance Workshop by Queen Vee
10-Midnight- Afrobeats Party Mix
In addition, there will be art on display by Temi Coker and Tijay Mohammed.
Follow @Òlàjú Art Group on all social media platforms to stay updated on the African Market Festival or visit our official website at african-market.olajuartgroup.org. For inquiries, contact: [email protected]
XN: Tell us about the 2020 African Market Festival: What was your vision behind this event? Why did you feel it was important to bring this to SA?
OO: The vision behind the 2020 African Market Festival is not only my own. From discussions with members of our organization, Òlàjú Art Group, we collectively decided to create this event as a way to celebrate contemporary African artists that are both local and international. This is important for San Antonio because there are limited opportunities to engage with works of art that represent the current times for Africans living at home and in the Diaspora. For example, the San Antonio-based art institutions that do feature work from Africa are usually more traditional with little attention paid to newer projects and artists.
XN: How can this event build more connection between the Black and Brown communities in SA?
OO: This event can build more connections between the Black and Brown communities in SA by incorporating educational components that reveal our similarities as a starting point. I believe that indigenous peoples around the world have much to learn from one another and the idea of cultural exchange is an excellent point of departure. With our work being African focused, we encourage Brown communities to engage in dialogue with the exhibited art, food, fashion, performances and other related activities to see how our cultures compare and contrast. Just as equally, Black/African communities should be attending similar cultural events hosted by Brown communities to learn from different perspectives.
XN: Why is solidarity between our communities important, particularly in SA and Texas?
OO: Solidarity between our communities is important for me for two main reasons: 1) There is strength in numbers, and 2) We have a lot to learn from each other.
XN: How can the community support your work?
OO: The community can support my work by engaging honestly with the multi-disciplinary art forms that we continue to present. I encourage everyone to get a ticket to the African Market Festival and find a piece of art and/or culture from our affiliated artists and vendors that speaks to them. Once you have made a connection with a piece, your additional support can come in the form of compensating that artist or vendor for their work and letting them know what it means to you. This is the essence of the market.
Please make sure to visit the 2020 African Market Festival tomorrow and connect with the organization.
Olaju Art Group Website: http://olajuartgroup.
Academic Website: http://