The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art will launch its first graphic novel Monday, May 11. The Song of Lionogo is based on a Swahili mythological figure from East Africa and was inspired by the cultural connections between the Arabian Peninsula and the Indian Ocean. It offers an interactive and educational experience to teens and youths: it incorporates a map of specific locations in the novel, a glossary to introduce readers to a new vocabulary and enables readers to include their own story plots.
The novel will be available to students participating in creative writing workshops at these Washington schools: Sousa Middle School, Hart Middle School, Jefferson Academy Middle School and Johnson Middle School. It will be available on the museum website Monday, May 11.
It was designed by Jiba Molei Anderson, owner of Griot Enterprises and professor of animation, video-game design and additional multimedia platforms at the Chicago State University. Anderson will come to Washington to facilitate comic-design and animation workshops to Washington metro area students. The foreword was written by doctoral student Laura Goffman, who is specializing in Middle East and North African Stories.
“I am excited with this new venture because it’s an excellent opportunity to teach young people about Africa and its diaspora specifically through the lens of visual literacy,” said Nicole Shivers, education specialist at the museum.
This initiative is part of an ongoing series of programming for the museums, “Connecting the Gems of the Indian Ocean: From Oman to East Africa” project.
About the National Museum of African Art
The National Museum of African Art is America’s only museum dedicated to the collection, conservation, study and exhibition of traditional and contemporary African art. The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. The museum is located at 950 Independence Ave. S.W., near the Smithsonian Metrorail station on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines. For more information about this exhibition, call (202) 633-4600 or visit the museum’s website at africa.si.edu. For general Smithsonian information, call (202) 633-1000.