All events are free and take place at UMMA unless otherwise noted.

Africa Festival of Arts

Presented by the African Graduate Student Association at the University of Michigan

This event is free and open to the public. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. Please RSVP for day one here.

The University of Michigan African Graduate Student Association presents the inaugural Africa Festival of Arts on April 7-8th 2023. This two-day affair hosted at the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) in Ann Arbor and the black-owned Norwest Gallery in Detroit, will feature showcases and works from a variety of African artists to celebrate and share African art with the Ann Arbor and Detroit communities. Our theme for the festival is “Saltwater Demands a Psalm". Our festival headliner is Kweku Abimbola, a UM alumnus from the Helen Zell Writers program. Kweku will be debuting his first full-length poetry collection, Saltwater Demands a Psalm, for which our festival theme is named. The début collection received the First Book Award from the Academy of American Poets in 2022. 

Other featured artists include Dr. Tawanda Chabikwa, an interdisciplinary artist-scholar and Assistant Professor University of Texas El Paso, fashion designer, Hawi Sisay Midekssa, and many more. This festival is a celebration of African art and it offers an immersive exploration of several themes of African and black life and culture through different mediums using water as a metaphor. The performances include expressions of joy, injustice, pain, and hope as encapsulated by water’s fluidity.

Day One:
Join us in the UMMA Apse for a fun evening including artist performances, art-making and dancing. Offerings include:

  • Fashion showcase by Hawii (Hawi Sisay Midekssa)
  • Performance by Ndini Wako (Dr. Tawanda Chabikwa)
  • Poetry reading and Q&A with Kweku (Kweku book signing) 
  • Storytelling by Elizabeth James 
  • Music by DJ Blakito 
  • Art making with Ann Arbor District Library

And many more...

Day Two:
Saturday, April  8th 2023 1-5PM
Venue: Norwest Gallery, Detroit
19556 Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48223

Join us for an afternoon of cultural exchange in Detroit. . Offerings include:

  • Jit Workshop (Hardcore Detroit & Zimbabwe Cultural Centre Detroit)
  • Kweku poetry reading 
  • Open mic
  • Workshop with Ndini Wako (Dr. Tawanda Chabikwa)

And many more.. 

This event is free but space is limited. Hors d'oeuvres and drinks will be served. RSVP for day two here.


The Inaugural Africa Festival of Arts is co-sponsored by the University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA), the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, the African Studies Center, and the Ann Arbor District Library.