“In the 1970s, at the time of the Black Arts Movement, people were very committed to their community and collective work; we helped each other.”
- Marilyn Nance, Africultures 2017
The Second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (aka FESTAC ‘77) was a seminal occurrence that fueled the Diasporic attitude for liberation concerns in the spheres of nationalism, politics, culture, arts, academics and theology. This gathering accorded black people from all places of the planet to engage in dialogue via colloquium sessions, exhibitions and performances during January 15th to February 12th of 1977, primarily in Lagos and other parts of Nigeria.
Artists, dancers and musicians who attended were able to gain cultural enrichment by engaging with Nigerian music, dance, art techniques, and religious practices of the Yourba and it’s Orishias. FESTAC’s international exhibition held in the National Stadium Exhibition Hall included the artwork of AfriCOBRA and many other critically important Black artists like Elizabeth Catlett, Margaret Goss Burrows, Lois Mailou Jones, Benny Andrews, Charles White, and the Weusi Collective.
Additional notable presenters and performers included groups like Val Grey Ward’s “Kuumba Workshop”, Barbara Anne Teer’s “National Black Theater”, Phil Cohan’s “Pharaohs”, Art Ensemble of Chicago (AACM), Sun Ra’s “Arkestra”, Stevie Wonder, and poet Haki Madhubuti (previously known as Don L. Lee) among many others.
As a complement to the various creative exhibitions and performances, FESTAC presented many panels discussions about a plethora of topics including aspects of African Diasporic life and culture such as:
- African Religion and philosophy
- Arts and aesthetics
- Politics and government
- Revolution and revolutionary movements