Legacy Arts Project presents Keepers of the Flame

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NANA MALAYA RUCKER—Center (Photos by Debbie Norrell)

NANA MALAYA RUCKER—Center (Photos by Debbie Norrell)

They knew little or nothing about Africa and she decided to introduce them to the drum and how it was used as a communication tool, as a result of this teaching experience she learned to play the African drum and became a part of the Legacy Arts Project. Mama Kadiatou Conte-Forte has taught African Dance and culture at Howard, George Washington and CMU as well as teaching youth at The Neighborhood Acad­emy. She is a teaching artist at Propel Charter School and with Dilworth Academy’s after-school program under Balafon West African Drum Ensemble. Another Keeper of the Flame, K. Mensah Wali, is presently a partner in Journey Agents, an artist booking company, and the Artistic Director of Kente Arts Alliance in Pittsburgh, since 2007. He is also a member of Black Voices for Peace-Pittsburgh and serves on the boards of Sembene-The Film &Arts Festival and the Ujamaa Collective.  Also honored, was Saihou Njie, fiber artist, teacher, photographer and designer/tailor. Njie was born in Gambia, West Africa. The final honor was presented to Tina Williams Brewer an internationally honored creator of story quilts. Brewer is known for her artistic exploration of African-American history and the personal experiences associated with it.

Erin Perry, executive director of the Legacy Arts Project says they honor the elder artisans as Keepers of the Flame, for their lifelong contributions to beautifying the world through art and sharing the blessings of their souls.

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