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International Year for People of African Descent 2011


Multimedia exhibit celebrates contributions of people of African descent

Secretary-General and Chester Higgins

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and photographer Chester Higgins Jr. tour the exhibit
UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras

A multimedia exhibition by artists and photographers representing the African diaspora opened at United Nations Headquarters in October and was displayed through 28 November 2011. The exhibition, The African Continuum: Celebrating diversity, recognizing contributions of People of African Descent, celebrated the contributions of people of African descent to global civilization and aimed to foster greater awareness about the challenges they face.

Contributing artists included: Firelei Baez, Delphine Diallo, Torkwase Dyson, Adriano Fagundes, Michael Freeman, Andre Leon Gray, Laura Heyman, Chester Higgins, Susan Leibold, Wangechi Mutu, Franklyn Rodgers, Yinka Shonibare, Wahala Temi, Cosmo Whyte, Aaqil Ka, Nathan Williams and
David Sugar.

Maya Angelou

Renowned poet, writer and civil rights activist Maya Angelou visited the UN to record her poem "A Brave and Startling Truth", featured in the exhibit.
UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz

The formal launch of the exhibition was attended by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and Chester Higgins Jr., photographer, speaking on behalf of the contributing artists and photographers.

Author and poet Maya Angelou recorded her poem "A Brave and Startling Truth" for the launch, a copy of which was on display in the exhibit.

The event also included a performance by James Lovell and the Afri-Garifuna Drummers, performing traditional music of the Garifuna people of coastal Central America.

The exhibit, jointly prepared by the Department of Public Information and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, is part of the UN’s year-long observance of the International Year for People of African Descent 2011. It also commemorates the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Durban Declaration to combat racism and xenophobia and its Programme of Action.