Staff Report, South Florida Times
MIAMI – It’s no secret that the landscape of Historic Overtown is dramatically changing. That’s why the 6th Annual Art Africa Miami Arts Fair (AAMAF) will continue its significant role in helping sustain the important elements that have contributed to the historic fabric of Overtown as it relates to arts and culture. Taking place December 1-4 at the former Clyde Killens Pool Hall, 920 NW 2nd Ave in Overtown, AAMAF will offer arts and culture enthusiasts a menu of activities including: a powerful and storied art exhibit, creative and community-driven conversations, and a pop- up youth art interactive lab.
Sponsored by the Southeast Overtown Park- west (SEOPW) Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) and produced by the Urban Collective team, AAMAF plays an important role in transforming this heritage neighborhood once known as the “Harlem of the South.” This year’s theme, “AFROTOPIA: Aesthetics and the Politics of Representation,” seeks to present modules that address Black visual and performing expressions and the questions of aesthetic sovereignty; the role of Black culture in community empowerment; the nexus of knowledge and economic liberation and the role of artists in resistance to oppression.
“Art Africa Miami Arts Fair continues to provide artists the platform to display their work in one of Miami’s oldest Black communities – Overtown. This year’s event is being held at the recently renovated Clyde Killen’s Pool Hall, which provides us the opportunity to celebrate our past and showcase the progress of our community. Events like this will continue to remind its participants of the rich history of Blacks in Miami,” said City of Miami District 5 Commissioner Keon Hardemon.
Located northwest of downtown Miami, Overtown was a vibrant black community and cultural hub before the I-95 Highway was constructed right through it in the 1960s, displacing tons of residents.
Hosting the fair at the former Clyde Killens pool hall, which was renovated by the SEOPW CRA, plays homage to the entertainment impresario Clyde Killens, who hosted acts like Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin at the Knight Beat, the Harlem Square and other clubs. At the time, segregation laws didn’t permit black artists hired to perform on Miami Beach to stay there. After performing, they would come and stay in Overtown.
“The Urban Collective is excited to host our annual premier art fair that looks to give life back to the Overtown community, as it continues to grow as a creative hub for the world,” said Neil Hall, Visionary Founder of AAMAF.
“The CRA’s support of Art Africa is essential to establishing a firm foundation for this new wave of cultural expression. The roots of Miami’s creative culture can be traced back here in Overtown. Art Africa will continue to grow and be a force that will rival any other exhibitions during Art Basel,” said Clarence E. Woods, SEOPW CRA Executive Director.
The impressive list of artists who will join this exhibition includes: Nakazzi Hutchinson, Turgo Bastien, Maximo Caminero, Carl Craig, Ivan Gross, Doba Afolabi, Freddy Osorio, Rafael Lopez Ramos, Anthony Burks, Tessa Mars, Jean Sebastien, Dan Arlan, Philippe Dodard, Solomon Adufah, Philippe Curtis, Najee Dorsey, Noel Theard, Guy Syllian, Christian Nicole and Robert McKnight to name a few.
Early registration only is Free. $10 at the door. $25 multi-day pass at the door. Register at www.artafricamiamiamifair.com.