Thursday, September 17, 2015

nzoCALIFA: Griot photograher uplifts the scene, SEEN: Baba Tumani Onabiyi

TumuArts Photo by Tumani Onabiyi © 2015
     His eyes have truly seen the glory of Our people the world over. Can you say you were part of the Black Arts Movement? or What do you recall about the infamous Black House? Were you on the scene when the Black Panthers emerged? What critical benchmarks of the Black Cultural Arts explosion can you cite and say that you were a witness to? -- or what private African cultural repository do you know holds an extensive archival collection of the largest multi-cultural event ever held on the African continent-- Festac '77?!

Baba Tumani Onabiyi has, is and lives these genres, brilliantly creating pathways into the horizon of his legacy as his works reflect a legendary International status.
Ooni's Palace,Enuwa Ile-Ife

Multi-disciplinary Artist, Cultural Historian, legendary Photographer, Drummer, Filmmaker, and a treasured Cultural Griot of our time, are but a few of the Communal stools he is inherently enthroned upon.

In my own Dance sojourn, it has been my great fortune to first intersect with Baba Tumani as a Berkeley High school student of my now Dancestor, Paula Mc Cullum.  Her 1982 "Congolese Suite" choreography was a tribute to Ta Malonga Casquelourd and Baba Tumani was an accompanist and member of Fua Dia Congo. It was my first time dancing Congolese and to "be thrown into the lion's den" known infamously as "the solo."  As both these beloved Dance luminaries, Paula and Ta Malonga have transcended into the Ancestral realm - we remain blazing our own trails respectively still crossing, connecting and creating with purpose.

Sharp and critically just, his talk can run you looong on some knowledge re-fueling your objective with deeper insight and his wit?!- cutting! He' seen a lot on the scene, working tirelessly like that of a blacksmith and giving for decades bigger than his heart now gracing those of us who sit and listen to the timeless wisdom of his life, involving the lives of many -- 

I most certainly am not the first to speak to the accolades of Baba Tumani; a blog post could not hold such volume and I won't be the last to celebrate the chronicling of his legendary works, exhibitions, installations, lectures, coffee table books and or potential appearances on Tavis Smiley or even TED talk. Yet, his works STILL captivate me, as I was combing my networks for site-worthy posts to this blog, the photo below captured my eye. Whoa'd by the gallant imagery, it was pleasing to me as I do know this Sistar. A smile warmed my face and turned resolute with an affirming head nod to learn that it was Baba Tumani on the scene. It is truly a DANCER'S DREAM to be immortalized by such mastery. #RiteOn

*note - See actual photo at link:  
*Visit "Tumani Photo Video" on Facebook and see his extensive Gallery.
photographer: TumuArts Photo by Tumani Onabiyi © 2015 
pictured below: Shawna Adkins  Choreographer: Isaura Oliveira
Costume: Nzinga Pace|Black-eyed Pea Festival, Mosswood Park - Oakland, CA

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