Weekend events June 3-5: Thunder God, Craft Invitational, Jazz at American Art

Events for the weekend of June 3-4 include jazz, a Nigerian art lecture, and Family Day at the Renwick

Shango’s most popular symbol, the double ax staff signifies the diety’s ability to reward the good and punish the bad.
Shango’s most popular symbol, the double ax staff signifies the diety’s ability to reward the good and punish the bad. Photo courtesy of African Art; gift of Walt Disney World Co., a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company

Friday, June 3 Meet Shango, the Yoruba Diety of Lightning and Thunder

According to oral tradition, Shango, the 16th-century Yoruba warrior-king of Nigeria acquired a special “medicine.” He could bring forth lightning and rout his enemies on the battlefield. His powers enabled him to control much of southwestern Nigeria between the 17th and 19th centuries. Upon his death, Shango was deified and thereafter identified with thunderstorms, forces of nature that the Yoruba peoples  interpreted as a sign of supernatural justice. Shango worship, which spread beyond Nigeria to the Americas via the transatlantic slave trade, promotes the material and spiritual well-being of humanity and protects the powerless. Join Nigerian art historian Babatunde Lawal from Virginia Commonwealth University as he explores the changing interpretations of Shango symbols in Africa and the Americas. Free. 12 PM. Lecture Hall. African Art

Saturday June 4 Renwick Craft Invitational Family Day

Like to cut and paste the old fashion way? Gather at the Renwick for a family activity day making arts and crafts inspired by the work of the four artists on view. Docents will be on had to lead family-oriented tours through the exhibition History in the Making, featuring the work of stain glass artist Judith Schaechter, ceramicist Cliff Lee, silversmith Ubaldo Vitali and furniture maker Matthias Pliessnig. There will also be live music and a scavenger hunt.  Free. 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Renwick Gallery

Sunday, June 5 DC Jazz Festival at American Art Museum

The award-winning drummer and composer Nasar Abadey is the founder and leader of the band SUPERNOVA. Come out to here the group’s performance as part of DC Jazz Festival.  Abadey defines his music as “mult-D,” which he calls multi-dimensional and multi-directional—a broad eclectic mix of Classical African American music, that includes everything from traditional to bebop to free form.  Free. 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. American Art Museum

For updates on all exhibitions and events, visit goSmithsonian.com

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