By Ayondele Nzinga

A lot of great things about Oakland are being (re)discovered for the first time. Among the new/old things being discovered about Oakland is the fact that it’s a hotbed of talent.

Lainya Magana from Argot & Ochre quipped in 2011 that, “proclamations of Oakland as the next art world boom have circulated for years . . . Oakland stands to prove itself as the sleeping giant of the art world.” Indeed, Oakland 2013 boasts a perpetually expanding gallery scene that rivals art havens found in major metropolises. Oakland is also home to a growing ‘making’ community with international ties as explored by Kevin Lee in an August 2013 Oakland Local article. Oakland also has a rich history of performance art that has influenced creativity across the globe.Oakland has been home to Omar Sousa from Cuba, Sooliman Rogie from Sierra Leone, and the late Hamza El Din from the Sudan.World-class art has been and continues to be made in Oakland, home of MC Hammer, Too Short, Tupac Shakur and Hieroglyphics.

Adimu Madyun, (aka WolfHawkJaguar), is an artist living in Oakland. An internationally known musician who has performed all over South Africa, he was recently invited by the 10th Annual Orisa World Conference to perform in Ile Ife Nigeria. While in Nigeria, he did a command performance at the palace of The Imperial Majesty, the Oonii of Ife. He also collected footage for his new film/album, “Search for the Everlasting Coconut Tree.”

Already an award winning documentary filmmaker with “Operation Small Axe and Reflections: A Warrior Spirit Art Experience” under his belt, Madyun has partnered with Oakland’s Trees for Life and United Roots to produce his new film. This project will showcase his music and the acting skills he’s been honing as a long standing member of The Lower Bottom Playaz, Inc, the oldest North American African theater troupe in Oakland.

WolfHawkJaguar says, “To be an artist, is to know extreme highs, painful lows, and to have an insatiable craving for creation and the love of the people. My purpose is to provide food for hungry bellies so the people can hear their own song.”

Multitalented Madyun is a key player in The Lower Bottom Playaz monumental effort to stage the “American Century Cycle” by August Wilson in chronological order of the decades presented in the epic 10-play series. He’s appeared as Solly Two Kings in “Gem of the Ocean,” Bynum in Joe Turner’s “Come and Gone,” Slow Drag in Ma Rainey’s “Black Bottom,” Doaker in “The Piano Lesson” and as Hedley in “Seven Guitars.” On Thanksgiving Day at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, he takes the stage again to star as Troy Maxson in The Lower Bottom Playaz production of FENCES, the sixth play in the cycle.

He describes playing Maxson (a character often compared to Willie Loman in “Death of a Salesman”) as “my most challenging role on stage to date. He represents the hard worker who tries his best in life to find it but just isn’t good enough. Maxson represents a man confronting his own mortality as he acknowledges his frustration at never becoming the man he wanted to be in life, he is the hero home from a war lost.”

See FENCES at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, November 28, 29th and 30th, celebrate theater in Oakland, and the discovery of artists living in Oakland and making world-class art.

Contact Ayodele Nzinga at wordslanger@gmail.com

Contact Adimu Madyun at 393films@gmail.com

Editor’s Note: This piece reflects an individual opinion and is not a reported story from Oakland Local. Oakland Local invites community residents to share their views about events and issues in Oakland. See our guidelines.

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