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African Healing Traditions: The Power of Performance

Saturday, May 12 - 1:00pm - 2:30pm
Location: Burbank Branch
Audience: Adults, Kids & Families, Seniors

This lecture will investigate the power of performance in African healing traditions, specifically those of the Igbo culture in Nigeria. Aimée Bessire and Oscar Mokeme will discuss Igbo art, healing and performance. Oscar will then perform an Igbo masquerade for the group, an essential part of his tradition as an Igbo healer.

About the speakers

Oscar Mokeme
Oscar is the founding director for the Museum of African Culture in Portland Maine, he apprenticed in Nigeria to master traditional Igbo healing medicine for six years, focusing in pluralistic trans-cultural Igbo complementary therapies and healing rituals. He earned the title of Traditional Arts Master, as a Traditional Healer, by The Maine Arts Commission through their Traditional Arts Master Apprenticeship Program in 2004 and was honored to receive a Jefferson Award for Cultural Diversity in 2001. His workshops and presentations blend traditions and have touched millions of people worldwide.

Aimée Bessire
Aimée teaches courses on African art and culture, the African Diaspora, and American culture at Bates College. She received her Ph.D and M.A. in History of Art and Architecture from Harvard University and has published on traditional and contemporary African art and culture. Aimée’s current research is with Sukuma healer practitioners in Tanzania. Inspired by her long-term association with the village of Ntulya in Tanzania, she founded the non-profit “Africa Schoolhouse,” which is dedicated to buildingsustainable school communities in rural Africa for children without educational opportunities. Africa Schoolhouse completed the Ntulya Primary School for 600 children in 2010 and in 2011 opened a medical clinic in rural Tanzania. They have also completed the large-scale renovations of Mwaniko Secondary School and Shilanona Primary School. Africa Schoolhouse is currently constructing a Boarding School for at-risk girls in Misungwi, Tanzania.