"Mr. Keep on Jamming" by Mlies Regis

Culture and art intertwine this year at Art Africa Miami Arts Fair, scheduled for December 5-9, at 919 and 920 NW 2nd Ave, Miami. This year’s theme Black Art Matters explores current challenges and renewed assaults on black lives that artists of African descent have brought attention to. The show will also celebrate Historic Overtown’s cultural legacy.

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Eight years may seem like a long time but for architect and cultural arts influencer Neil Hall, this isn’t nearly enough time to explore the generous contributions of the Black diaspora.

“Art stirs the soul and your imagination,” says Hall. “The visual arts are a critical aspect to all of us as human beings. It started with the caveman just sketching things. It is important to our psyche and thoughts.”

Since then, the Art Africa Miami Arts Fair has become the largest showcase of contemporary artists from the African Diaspora during Art Basel. This year’s theme confronts all stereotypes and ignorances with a bold statement: “Black Art Matters: It’s Not A Choice.”

The fair is put on with the support of the Southeast Overtown Parkwest Community Development Agency. Art Africa Miami continues to bring a vital and essential cultural service to the South Florida community, lending the Magic City a truly international flair.

A vibrant cultural legacy was established in what was once known as the cultural hub of Miami. Hall has been committed to expanding upon on that legacy by promoting contemporary art from the global Black community.

Black Art Matters: It’s not a choice” explores how Black art has always been and still is about an intellectual, political and artistic rereading, trying to think of the contemporary condition of peoples that have been involved in struggles to stay human. Black Art Matters unveils how the contemporary accommodates itself with oppression thus the necessity for Black proclamations of emancipation, independence, liberation, and revolution.

Art has always been a tool to claim space, build power and to question the injustices that have shaped our social experiences. In the world of art and culture, artists are responsible for offering the viewer a chance to challenge society by bringing new meaning to the way we perceive the world. Art Africa ensures that artist of the African and Black Diaspora have that platform.

The central idea of AAMAF is to present an array of visual works that pay homage to the centrality of Africa and its descendants’ contribution to the modern art world. Hall notes, “Many people are defined by the art they create.”

The Southeast Overtown Park West (SEOPW) Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) has demonstrated a commitment to using as the arts as a means of economic development. From commissioning legendary artist Pervis Young to paint its major overpass to sponsoring the annual Overtown Music and Arts Festival, and being an original partner in AAMAF, the CRA uses these investments as opportunities to attract cultural tourists to the area and revitalize the CRA boundary.

“Art Africa has been a catalyst for the inclusion of Black Art in Overtown during Miami’s Art Basel Week ,” said Cornelius Shiver, Executive Director of the Southeast Overtown / Park West Community Redevelopment Agency “Their presence continues to highlight the historic community of Overtown and the importance of infusing art, culture, and entertainment in our revitalization efforts”.


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