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Kibibi Ajanku is a multi-faceted artist. She makes and presents ethnically charged art because her passion embodies the thrust of the African Diaspora. Ajanku’s creativity is the ongoing and ever-evolving effort of her life journey. Her work is eclectic and innovative. It is ancient while at the same time new-world and always changing becoming artistry that is layered with, and entrenched in, indigenous folkways. Kibibi Ajanku’s work embodies research, identity, and the gathering of elements of African retention, in hopes of evoking intuitive memories that reach back into ancestral histories and stories that impact the here and the now.
She is known broadly as the Founder of the Baltimore-based Sankofa Dance Theater. Since 1989, her company has featured elements of the distant past, existing present, and imagined future, all drenched in the traditions of the historical Mali Dynasty. Under her direction, the group has exhibited new-world costuming and choreography, with a nuance that embodies authentic traditions of West Africa. Sankofa’s major projects have included visual, as well as, performance art and have been artistically curated, providing an experience that is an informative journey to the exotic places.
Ajanku believes that when presented properly, art is the perfect vehicle to move forward into greater intercultural awareness for the global community. To that end, Kibibi Ajanku curates and guides the elements of the Urban Arts Leadership Initiative for the Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance where she serves as Equity and Inclusion Director. Under her leadership, the Fellowship has increased racial inclusion within arts sector leadership and has positively altered workplace best practices through actively training, placing, and referring an annual cohort of emerging professionals. Additionally, she holds space as the Resident Curator for a small gallery in the Fells Point area of Baltimore, Maryland. Ajanku is also the Urban Arts Professor for a rotating cohort of students at Coppin State University, and serves as a Resident Artist/Researcher for Maryland Institute College of Art Fibers Department. Furthermore, Ajanku is excited to administer the evolution of a new Urban Arts Field School project with UAL fellows and community folklorists, recently funded by the National Endowment for the Arts.