Annually during Labor Day Weekend, the Festival grounds in Chicago’s Washington Park come alive in a simulated African village. Attendees are transported across the Diaspora with interactive engagements, vibrant drumming, museum quality and collectible artifacts, colorful and rich handwoven fabric and textile, and other program spaces and Interactive spaces include: Drum & Afro-folk Village, Children and Family, African Heritage, African Spirituality, Wellness (Health) Village, Books and Authors, Fine Art, Film and Video, Food Court, Seniors and Quilting, Black Dolls (making and collecting - 2015) and the African Marketplace.
2015 Artist of the Year - Nii Oti
Nii Oti was a gifted artist who has specialized in combining African and African American Art through his paintings and customized jewelry for over forty years.
Nii Oti was born Timothy Williams on the Southside of Chicago in the 1940s. He first became interested in African Art while attending the University of Illinois in the 1960s.
In spite of commercial success, Nii Oti felt a strong desire to live in the Motherland. In the mid 1970’s he packed up his family and moved to Ghana. There he taught art. He also studied with many renowned artists in Ghana, Nigeria and throughout the Ivory Coast. There he was given his name, which roughly translated means Chief.
Over the decades, Nii Oti has accumulated a body of work that reflects his transition from a child of the South Side of Chicago to a world renowned master of African/African American Art.