- Faith & Family
Treated by many in the U.S. as Christmas’s estranged cousin, the 45-year-old Kwanzaa holiday often receives barely a brief acknowledgement during its annual December observance. With that in mind, the Kuumba Kwanzaa Art Exhibition was founded by the Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida nearly 30 years ago to help counteract that apathetic attitude.
“Kwanzaa was not very well established here in Miami then,” said Gene Tinnie, one of the founding members of the Kuumba Artists Collective.
Celebrated since 1981, the intermittent exhibit will kick off this year with a grand opening reception on Thursday, Dec. 22nd at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center in Liberty City.
This year, exhibit-goers can expect to see a wide variety of art pieces including paintings, photographs and sculptures. Among this year’s line up of artists will be Addonis Parker, Bayunga Kialeuka, James A. Rush and Overstreet Ducasse.
It’s the tenth year that the exhibit has been showcased at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, according to Tinnie, who adds that there will be a wide price range for purchasable items — starting as low as ten dollars.
“The idea was to make Black art available to the Black community especially during gift-giving time,” he said. “Instead of buying from a department story why not buy a gift with a rich history?”
In addition to celebrating local artists, Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida also celebrates the Kwanzaa holiday itself, which takes place from Monday, Dec. 26th until Sunday, Jan. 1st. On Wednesday, Dec. 26th, there will be a special presentation in the theater at the Center dedicated to honoring the first of the seven principles of Kwanzaa — “umoja” (unity).
Seven principles of Kwanzaa
Every day of the week long celebration of Kwanzaa is dedicated to honoring a different principal:
Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves stand up.
Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.
Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Imani (Faith): To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers,
our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The Annual Kuumba Kwanzaa Art Exhibition’s opening reception will be on Thursday, Dec. 22nd at 7 p.m. at the Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 2166 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Liberty City. For information call 305-751-9791.
By Kaila Heard