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Festival of Masks at Leimert Park Village


June 25th from noon to 6 p.m.

Leimert Park Village is gearing up for a lively and exciting ritual, celebration, and procession taking place on June 25th from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. The 13th Annual Festival of Masks will follow the “Seeds of the Village” theme and provide an opportunity for all attendees to celebrate and learn about the vast identities of the African Diaspora in a communal environment. The Festival is free and will take place at the Leimert Park Art Walk on West 43rd Place at Degnan Boulevard..

Dena Cheng, development and communications manager for LA Commons, said, “The 2023 theme, Seeds of the Village, centers on Leimert Park Ancestors who planted the seeds of art, culture, and wellness and features artists and cultural workers who carry their vision forward. Our goal with the Day of the Ancestors is to build a network of youth and community partners who are connected to and invested in local cultural resources, therefore creating a culture of wellness across the community as people are wholly affirmed in their identities.”

In preparation for this event, a “Seeds of the Village” workshop was hosted on May 13th by LA Commons.

The Festival of Masks was founded in 2010 by two artists by the names of Najite Agindotan and Ben Caldwell in collaboration with LA Commons.The festival will begin with a libation ceremony that comprised two months of meticulous and careful work to put together.

The ceremony will include large masks, puppets, beautiful costumes, expert drummers, dancers, and performers followed by a march around Leimert Park. Post performances will include Dwight Tribe, Kamau Daaood, S.H.I.N.E. Muwasi, Jimetta Rose, Voices of Creation, Mama Laura’s Mighty Balls of Fire, and Torrence Brannon-Reese & His Everything with Soul Band.

Following the ceremony, there will be an African Dance with Daunte Fyall from 11a.m. to noon, Ancestor Mask Making with Maria Elena Cruz and Ronieka Pinkey from noon to 2 p.m., and African Drumming with Rene Fisher Mims from 2:30 p.m. to  3:30 p.m.

The festival will pay homage to five legends whose influence continues to spread like wildfire throughout the communities they took part in and all over the world. Like these creative geniuses, the festival hopes to unearth some creative unity and expression through the community. The five artists that will be honored are Billie Higgins, Laura Mae Gross, Ras G, Richard Fulton, and Amber Tell.

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