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A native of Antigua, West Indies, versatile artist Iyaba Ibo Mandingo gave a spell-binding performance of his first play, “unFRAMED” at the Nichols College Auditorium on February 23rd. The event was co-sponsored by the Umoja Club and the Fischer Institute as part of the Dudley campus’s celebration of Black History Month.
Mandingo imagines the Nichols audience to be his friends coming to visit him in his studio. As he paints his self-portrait, he uses poetic verse to share the story of his journey as an undocumented boy immigrating to the United States in 1980. Mandingo reflects on his struggles by including anecdotes about adolescence and racism.
“As our conversation draws to a close,” says Mandingo, “my friends leave with a deep understanding of me as an artist, painter, writer, sculptor, singer, father, husband, son, and friend – a man in progress.”
Mandingo studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University, is a member of the Harlem Arts Alliance, and teaches in-and-around the tri-state area. He was awarded a “Percent for the Arts Program” grant and is a two-time, Connecticut Grand Slam champion. In January 2011, he won Yale University’s Martin Luther King Birthday Invitational Slam, his third such win.