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Ifátùmínínú Bamgbàlà Arẹs̀ Global South Fellow at Tulane University

Ifátùmínínú Bamgbàlà Arẹs̀

Global South Fellowship 2021

Ifátùmínínú Bamgbàlà Arẹs̀ à is a multidisciplinary artist, activist and educator. Born and raised in New Orleans, Ifátùmínínú suppressed her creative side for a decade before moving to Tanzania where she was reborn. She continues to actively work across the diaspora by building and maintaining relationships in the Motherland.

Ifátùmínínú recently began a monthly meet up for melanated folks entitled “a BLACK creative’s guide” in which BLACK people convene in art institutions, take up space and have relaxed discourse about art from THEIR perspective. The organization’s ultimate goal is for the GLOBAL LIBERATION of BLACK PEOPLE through arts and culture.

Ifátùmínínú is an ordained and trained Traditional West Afrikan Ifá Priest who considers her artwork an extension of her spiritual work. As such, she expresses herself and her identity through her Ancestors which manifests in all her endeavors. She is under the apprenticeship of Olòyé Ìyánifá Ifáṣèyí Bamgbàlà Olátúnjí- Arèsà, Director of Orí Counseling Services Ifá-Òrìṣà Education, Training & Development Academy. You can find out more about Ifátùmínínú at


From Nigeria to New Orleans

It is said that New Orleans is the most Afrikan city in America. The city is known for its magic but, even if people know the origins of much of this magic, many don’t understand the depths of it. We can clearly see those depths when looking at our customs of Ancestral veneration. This project explores the continuation of the Ancestral masquerade known as the Egúngún Masquerade, from Yorùbáland, Nigera to the Black Masking Indians in New Orleans.

The connections From Nigeria to New Orleans are so deep that it’s hidden in the DNA of Black New Orleanians. Centuries after, we still celebrate the legacy of our Ancestors in the same ways. Reports of the Black Masking Indians began in the mid-nineteenth century. For almost 200 years, these cultural warriors have paraded around the city on special occasions, including carnival day and St. Joseph’s Night. Their entourage includes Afrikan drummers and tambourines that part the crowds with ease. Similarly, the Egúngún Masquerade has been used during memorable events such as weddings, funerals, births and celebrations. They also have an entourage of drummers, appointed assistants and spectators that follow them as they parade throughout the streets.

This project seeks to bring awareness to the public about the continuation of the legacy of Ancestral reverence and its customs long after the trans-Atlantic slave trade ended. From Nigeria to New Orleans emphasizes the strength of Afrikan identity in spite of the intentional displacement we faced and seeks to restore our cultural memory through continuing our legacy.