After Hours, African Journeys

At The Manchester Museum.

Join us on our journey through Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and experience the rich and diverse culture of West Africa with a musical, art, food and cultural exploration of the West African countries.
The Manchester Museum and Black Health Agency (BHA) are pleased to be working in collaboration for this event. Part of We Face Forward.

6.30   Drinks Reception and ‘A Taste of Africa’
7.00   Welcome by Anna Bunney, Curator of Public Programmes,    Manchester Museum  
7.05   Sam Maitland – music from Sierra Leone 
7.20   Akiel Chinelo – ‘Coconut Tree’
7.30   Introduction to a ‘Journey through West Africa’ (Discovery    Centre)
8.15   Tiki – music from Cameroon
8.30   Sam Maitland – music from Sierra Leone

Akiel Chinelo
Akiel Chinelo is a dynamic Storyteller and Spoken word Artist based in England and the Gambia. He developed the 'urban opera' Doin' Moon with composer Anwen Lewis and became the Artist in Residence at Manchester's Contact Theatre, producing the dark comedy Coconut Tree. Akiel draws influence from West African griot traditions and performs at numerous venues as a solo artist and within collaborations.

Sam Maitland AKA Papa Sam Alafia
Sam Maitland moved to the UK in the late 1980s from Freetown, Sierra Leone, West Africa. He is a master musician who plays the guitar, sings and also specialises in percussion. An expert storyteller, he composes writes songs and teaches West African music and culture in schools. Sam has recorded and performed with many African and international artists such as Seal and King Masco. He has played music extensively throughout the UK performing at various renowned venues. He has toured the United States and Japan with the African band Rokoto and has worked with the Post Modern African Peoples Dance Group Sakoba. As a solo artist, he is currently specialising in traditional Sierra Leonean Palm Wine Music in a tribute to his mentor, S E Rogie.

Tiki Black
Paris-born Tiki Black is a singer-songwriter who was raised in France and Cameroon and currently lives in Manchester. Her songs reflect her many and varied experiences and her multicultural influences.

Tiki Black sings her deeply personal lyrics and accompanies herself on the piano. Her songs are sung in English, French and her native Douala. In 2009 one of Tiki’s songs, Swollen, was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest after she won a membership to the Broadjam website on the strength of another of her songs. Having played widely in North West England, Tiki is now finalising gigs in Europe and North America. She is currently recording her first album Out of the Black, which is scheduled for release in 2013 and filming the corresponding videos.

Nat Biney Chairman of The Ghana Union
Nat Biney is the Chairman of The Ghana Union, founded after the historic Pan African Conference which was held in Manchester in 1945. Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana was the leading member of the African leaders who attended the Conference. The Ghana Union of Greater Manchester is therefore classified as the First Ghanaian Union to be formed in UK.  Some of the Union’s activities include; providing advice and assistance to all members in difficulties, organising social events and trips for members, working closely with Broad African Representative Council (BARC), to improve community cohesion in Manchester and maintain close links with the Ghana Embassy office in London.

Adisa Sab. Adebesin
Adisa holds a higher National Diploma in Fine Arts (sculpture), a Master degree in Environmental Management (MEM) from the University of Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria and holds an MA in Development Education at the Institute of Education (IOE), University of London. He worked in Nigeria as a teacher, visual artist and cultural administrator and voluntarily retired as Ogun State Deputy Director of Arts and Culture.

After Hours are evening social events at The Manchester Museum where you encounter the unexpected. Artists, scientists, filmmakers, writers and musicians animate our collections in special one-off performances. 

14 September, 6.30-9.30pm.

Suported by Barefoot Wine

Meshac Gaba, Ensemble

Panel debate on the lasting impact of the 1945 Pan African Congress in Manchester

At The Manchester Museum.

From 15 to 21 October 1945, Manchester was the setting for 90 delegates who gathered at All Saints, Manchester, for the fifth Pan African Congress meeting. This important gathering was notable in providing a platform for people who went on to take a leading role in the struggle against colonial rule, including Jomo Kenyatta, the first President of Kenya. Other attendees included George Padmore, Kwame Nkrumah, Mrs Marcus Garvey and Ras Makonnen. W.E.B DuBois, the man who organised the first Pan African Congress in 1919, was there too at the age of 77.

As part of the We Face Forward festival, this evening event will explore the legacy of the 1945 meeting. There will be an exhibition of the history of the Pan African Congress and a performance by local artist, Brian Morgan. Contributors will include Hakim Adi, Marika Sherwood, Richard Benjamin and Milton Brown.

11 September, 6-8pm

Free, book on 0161 275 2648

Image A plaque commemorating the Fifth Pan African Conference/Congress held in Manchester in 1945. (Source)

The commemorating plaque of the Fifth Pan African Conference in Manchester

Making Exhibitions and Art Practice in West Africa Today

Join with Christine Eyene (Curator of Dak'art 2012, and advisor to We Face Forward) and Professor Claire Griffiths of Chester University (author of Globalizing the Postcolony: contesting discourses of gender and development in francophone Africa) for a discussion around the context of exhibition making and art practice in West Africa, looking at the political and social content of artists' work in West Africa and the long-running African Biennial of contemporary art, Dak'art.

Please note that this week's Raw Social takes place at Manchester Art Gallery

Saturday 8 September, 3pm to 4.30pm, free
Manchester Art Gallery

Meshac Gaba, Ensemble

Moving Into Space

28th August, 2012

National Football Museum

Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Three WFF artists talk about their work

23rd August, 2012

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

The Art Bus

23rd August, 2012

The Art Bus was created to travel all over Manchester providing free art and music performances and workshops for local communities inspired by the music and contemporary art of West Africa in the We Face Forward exhibition.

Literature Event

At Manchester Art Gallery.

We are delighted to welcome two outstanding writers to the gallery. Chuma Nwokolo will be reading from his new book, The Ghost of Sani Abacha. Nwokolo is a barrister and was writer-in-residence at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, as well as being the publisher of African Writing magazine. His works include the novels Diaries of a Dead African and One More Tale for the Rood, as well as the poetry collection Memories of Stone.

Chika Unigwe is the author of On Black Sisters' Street and Night Dancer. On Black Sisters' Street tells the story of four African women who leave their homelands to work in the red light district of Antwerp. When one of them is murdered, the others begin to unravel their past. It is a book about the tension between modernity and tradition.

7 - 8.30pm, the lecture room, Manchester Art Gallery

6 September

Thursday Lates

Internal Flight

At Manchester Art Gallery.

Internal Flight is a documentary film about Lemn Sissay's search for his father and an investigation of his past in children's homes and foster care in Lancashire. After the film Lemn will take part in a Q and A session.

Lemn Sissay is a poet and playwright. He is an associate artist at the Southbank Centre, as well as being the first poet commissioned to write for the London 2012 Olympics. His poem Spark Catchers is etched into a Transformer on the Olympic site. You may recognise his landmark poems which are displayed throughout Manchester, particularly in the Northern Quarter and on the wall of the Hardy's Well pub in Rusholme. 

Check out Lemn Sissay's blog here.

7 - 8.30pm, the lecture room, Manchester Art Gallery

30 August

Thursday Lates

Sylvanus Kwashie Kuwor dancers and drummers

At Manchester Art Gallery.


Enjoy music and dancing with a West African flavour, performed by Sylvanus Kwashie Kuwor, a Ghanaian master drummer and dancer.

7 - 7.30pm and 8 - 8.30pm, in the atrium, Manchester Art Gallery.

Meshac Gaba, Ensemble



Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

Twitter (#wefaceforward)

Creative Tourist


Nine countries show off their talent as five city venues link up for a summer celebration. Helen Nugent in the Guardian

Street life, dazzling dress, social commentary and a riot of sensuous colour interweave in a rich assembly of West African art, writes Charles Gore in the Times Higher Education