Exhibition Amadou Yacine Thiam at the Alitash Gallery in Los Angeles, CA


A very diverse, energetic and culturally sophisticate audience welcomed Senegalese "cultural ambassador" Amadou Yacine Thiam, artist representative to Los Angeles this past Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at the Alitash Gallery in Los Angeles, California.

The reception for Mr. Thiam, hosted at the Alitash Gallery in Los Angeles, under the co-sponsorship of Mr. Ernest Dillihay, the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, Performing Arts Director and Co-Chair of the California Diaspora Cultural Coalition, its members, Alitash Kebede and the Masked Minister 4 the Arts, was a well attended by artists, patrons, students and others.

Ms. Kebede welcomed the early evening's crowd to the gallery and introduced Mr. Dillihay, who in turn provided some background on the purpose for the particular reception. He shared with the audience his eventful meeting with Mr. Thiam and their mutual interest in FESMAN, which is to take place in Dakar, December 2010. Mr. Dillihay shared the fact the California Diaspora Cultural Coalition (CDCC), was formed specifically as a Delegation intent on participating in FESMAN, the World Black Arts & Cultural Festival in Dakar, Senegal in 2010.

The Alitash Gallery was the perfect venue to host the event. It had been in business for since 1994 and presents exhibitions of modern and contemporary art and offers a selection of 20th century masterworks for sale. The gallery specializes in the work of artists from the African Diaspora and devotes a section to photographic works.

Among its first clients were the Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison, the Academy Award winning actor Denzel Washington, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Charles Fuller, the CEO of Burrell Communications (then Burrell Advertising), Tom Burrell, and other lesser known but equally notable collectors who helped to sustain it and grow its reputation. Mr. Thiam was indeed in the right place to have his artists work represented.

Amadou Yacine Thiam, owner and founder of the Yassine Arts Center in Dakar, Senegal was presenting his ancient African art collection at ALITASH GALLERY. Mr. Thiam has over 40 years of experience in African Arts (ancient and contemporary). The Yassine Arts Gallery represents internationally well known contemporary artists for the last 20 years. A member the Orientation Community of the Contemporary Temporary African Art Biennale in Dakar (DAK'ART).

It was a wonderful opportunity for the Shaping Black Culture FESMAN Planning Committee and delegation participants to meet and greet Mr. Thiam of Dakar, Senegal, a man who is intimately involved with the artist's community in Senegal. Mr. Thiam discussed his relationship with FESMAN and welcomed those in attendance to join the CDCC as they make plans visit to Dakar in December 2009 in preparation to FESMAN 2010. He also stated this was a great opportunity to share the importance of connecting those of the Diaspora to this international cultural event. The potential for cultural and economic exchange was indeed a keynote of the entire evening.

After the initial introductions and discussion, Mr. Thiam, at the request of filmmaker S. Pearl Sharp, shared with the audience a professorial exposition on the African Antiquities he had brought with him that were on display at the Alitash Gallery.

Attendees at the reception for Mr. Thiam continued to meet and greet one another long after the introductions, Q&A and discussion of the African Antiquities. Overall, there was a budding interest in the FESMAN activities and expressed interest by many considering attending the grand event in December 2010.

Mr. Dillihay announced there would be an art and cultural mission traveling to Dakar in December 2009. Additionally, he shared with the audience that Senegal and FESMAN will be the honored guest theme at the 4th Annual Shaping Black Culture in the Diaspora conference and the International African Diaspora Day celebrations in the Los Angeles, Leimert Park Village October 9-11, 2009. This, states, Mr. Dillihay, will be a prelude to our travel to and participation in FESMAN 2010.