Thursday, February 10, 2011

Asmara Sium, Chair, African Advisory Committee on the Diaspora

At a very basic level, a Diaspora is a group of people who share an ethnic or national identity and live outside of their “ancestral” homeland. However, if one should delve deeper, a Diaspora community shares more than a national or ethnic identity and location.  It is a coming together and forging of (new) cultures and ideas deeply rooted in both our ancestral homelands and in our experiences as a community living outside of our ancestral homes.

This is evidenced by, among many things, celebrations that exhibit conduct indicative of a two-way cultural diffusion, one created within the Diaspora. The Africa Underground event hosted by the Smithsonian African Art Museum on Feb 18 is a manifestation of cultural diffusion.  It is a meeting of cultures; a coming together of what is great in both African and Brazilian cultures, set to music, entertainment, dress, food, and beverage. It speaks to who we, in the Diaspora, see ourselves as; a community with connections to multiple places and times throughout history.
Asmara Sium (Eritrea), Chair, African Advisory Committee, Smithsonian National Museum of African Art

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