Early in 1977, thousands of artists, writers, musicians, activists and scholars from Africa and the Black diaspora assembled in Lagos for FESTAC ’77, the 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture. The event came 11 years after the First World Festival of Negro Arts, held in Dakar, and 8 years after the First Pan-African Cultural Festival was held in Tangiers.
With a radically ambitious agenda underwritten by Nigeria’s newfound oil wealth, FESTAC ’77 would unfold as a complex, glorious and excessive culmination of a half-century of transatlantic and pan-Africanist cultural-political gatherings.
Devised by Chimurenga magazine, this is the first publication to consider FESTAC in all its cultural-historic complexity, addressing the planetary scale of the event alongside the personal and artistic encounters it made possible. The third title in the magazine’s Chimurenga Library series and the tenth in Afterall’s Exhibition Histories series, the book gathers extensive unseen photographic and archival materials, interviews and new commissions. Featuring contributions from Alioune Diop, Barkley Hendricks, Audre Lorde, Betye Saar, Dominique Malaquais, Marilyn Nance, Ugochukwu-Smooth Nzewi, J.D. Okhai Ojeikere, Elvira Dyangani Ose and Wole Soyinka, among others, Festac ´77: The 2nd World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture tells the story of a legendary event that performed African and diasporic politics, culture and collectivity live on the world stage.