Tuesday April 06, 2010 | 09:15 PM

Mayo Street Arts was packed tonight for the lively opening reception of the Maine African Film Festival.

One of the party's big draws was the chance to meet and view the work of artist Lemi Ghariokwu, who's standing second from right in the above photo. He's smiling for the cameras with Charlie Calli, Keita Whitten, who hosts the Mama Africa show on WMPG, Kazeem Lawal, who's the executive director of the Maine African Film Festival, and Kai Bicknell. Lemi, who lives in Nigeria, is best known for the album covers he designed for musicians including Bob Marley and Afrobeat pioneer Fela Kuti.

Prints from these albums are on view at the arts center along with a number of original works in watercolor, ink and mixed media. The prints sell for $40 and the originals fall in the $1,000 range. His work - rich with social commentary and human rights messages - will be on view through April 10, which is also how long Lemi will be in town.

Another highlight of the evening was the African drumming and the "Africa Embraced" dance performance presented by the Marita & Friends dance troupe. The high-spirited performance capped off the party, and once it ended many people hightailed it to the Nickelodeon, where the festival's first film, "Sex, Okra & Salted Butter," screened at 7:30 p.m. The film shows again on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

The festival continues through Saturday night with screenings, panel discussions and Q&A's with directors.

If you want to see more photos from the party, be sure to pick up this weekend's Maine Sunday Telegram and check out the Scene & Heard section.

 

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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

Avery can be contacted at 791-6297 or akamila@pressherald.com
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