New arts group aims to showcase African artists and aid community cohesion

A new multi-disciplinary arts group aims to showcase African talent living in Northern Ireland, and aid community cohesion.

The Africa Arts Collective aims to be a platform for artists, from dancers to musicians, to showcase themselves.

Cuthbert Tura Arutura of Africa House NI said the idea came from African artists living in Northern Ireland who felt they were individually unable to make impact and secure a wide range of work.

Online Irish dance classes
Cuthbert Tura Arutura (Niall Carson/PA)

He described the impact of the coronavirus pandemic as exasperating their reach.

Mr Arutura said artists want to share their culture with people in Northern Ireland.

“We have seen that African and Irish people have a lot of shared experiences and art is a way to express that,” he said.

“This type of initiative addresses the isolation some arriving in Northern Ireland, and is also another way that people can network.

“It is all about empowerment.”

On October 5, African and Northern Ireland artists will gather to mark the forming of the group at the Markets Community Centre in Belfast.

Rahim Saphy, an acrobat, dancer and comedian from Tanzania, is the first chairperson of the group.

“The Africa Arts Collective will bring joy, vibrancy, colour and inspiration to the local arts scene,” he said.