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Festival Celebrates Rwandan Style And Culture With Virtual And In-Person Events

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Philippe Nyirimihigo and Gael Ruboneka Vande wegh
FestivalAFRICANA's Rwanda edition will give audiences the chance to experience Rwanda through creatives and their work.

The Frick Pittsburgh hosts FestivalAFRICANA: Rwanda this Friday, a celebration of African creativity, style, beauty and culture.

“The idea is to create a bridge between the U.S. and the continent of Africa through fashion and culture,” said Demeatria Boccella, founder of FashionAFRICANA, the event's organizers. “We’re excited to connect Black creatives across the globe.”

This year’s event focuses on creatives from Rwanda and their work, from fashion and beauty to jewelry and home decor. The in-person component features a cocktail reception, looks from Rwanda and music. Virtual programming includes a documentary film and shopping created exclusively for the festival.

Attendees of The Frick Pittsburgh event can get to know the artists behind the visuals virtually on Saturday and Sunday. Boccella said she looks forward to in-person connection, which wasn’t possible last year.

“To be able to touch and feel the garments and the jewelry and the home decor, the baskets, and then hear the story behind each of those is really a win-win,” Boccella said.

Last year’s entirely virtual festival highlighted the work of creatives from Ghana. After that event’s successful global connection between audiences and artists, the organization wants to include an online component to all their future programming, Boccella said.

“It’s great and more cost-effective to be able to connect with our creatives virtually and to meet them personally,” she said. “It’s really an honor and a blessing to have that opportunity.”

Boccella’s co-producer for the event is Nelly Wandji, a Paris-based Cameroonian producer. Through their partnership, the two identified Anne and Joan Mazimhaka, co-founders of Illume Creative Studio, who coordinated the Rwandan creatives celebrated this weekend.

Tickets and registration for The Frick Pittsburgh event and the virtual global celebration are available online at festivalafricana.com.

Margaret Fleming is a newsroom production assistant from Chicago, IL. She's a rising junior studying journalism at Northwestern University and covers sports at the student radio station, WNUR. Margaret can be reached at mfleming@wesa.fm.