The Parks, Recreation and Cultural Affairs Department (PRCA) is pleased to announce its partnership with the University of Florida (UF) African Studies Center and the Sequential Artists Workshop (SAW) to host workshops for students at Eastside High School on Wednesday, Feb. 7. The workshops will be facilitated by SAW, and feature two artists from the African countries of Benin and Congo. The following evening is a public installation at SAW featuring the students’ artwork, as well as work and words of three internationally-known African artists: visual artist Didier Viodé, comic artist Papa Mfumu’eto and writer Fiston Mwanza.
On Feb. 7, SAW executive director and award-winning cartoonist Tom Hart, along with Didier Viodé and Fiston Mwanza Mujila, will visit Eastside High School for a pair of workshops on comics, racism, rumor, magic and artistic expression. Viodé is an esteemed visual artist, who is based in France and from Benin, and Mujila is a prize-winning novelist, who is based in Austria and from the Democratic Republic of Congo.
During the workshops at Eastside High School, students will also be challenged to fathom the comics of Congolese comic artist Papa Jaspé-Saphir Mfumu’eto. An archival acquisition of Papa Mfumu’eto’s work became part of the George A. Smathers Libraries last year. It is made up of drawings, comic booklets and unpublished papers, and represents his creative work from 1985 to 2007.
On Thursday, Feb. 8 from 5:30-7:30 p.m., SAW is hosting a public installation at its downtown studio, which is located at 701 SE Second St. in Gainesville. Here, they will present some of the students’ comic and art work from the Eastside High School workshops, work about SAW and its history of teaching comics in Gainesville and work by and words from three African artists, Didier Viodé, Papa Mfumu’eto and Fiston Mwanza Mujila. Mujila is a fiction writer best known for “Tram 83,” which has won numerous literary awards. Didier Viodé, formerly a comics artist and now a painter from Benin, will speak with Hart about comic arts practices on a global scale and in everyday life from Africa to France to Florida and the U.S. to Congo.
Co-organized by UF Professor of History and African Studies Nancy Rose Hunt, the Eastside High School workshops and the public installation at SAW received funding support from PRCA, UF's Center for African Studies and the UF Center for the Humanities & the Public Sphere. Both events are associated with the annual African Studies Carter Conference, this year devoted to sequential art forms, African arts and the work of one Congolese comic artist. For more information on the conference, please visit http://africa.ufl.edu/carter-conference/.