By John Owoo
(In Abidjan – Côte d’Ivoire)
Henriette Dagri Diabaté, a former Ivorian Minister of Culture last week opened the 10th edition of Market For Performing Arts Festival (MASA) in Abidjan during a colorful ceremony interspersed with brief magnetic performances.
She recounted the humble beginnings of MASA, which was initiated in 1993 with the support of La Francophonie and lauded past and present directors of the festival for a wonderful job in regard to sustenance and promotion of the arts.
Maurice Kouakou Bandaman, current Minister of Culture and Francophonie recalled the commitment of the authorities in the Ivory Coast in ensuring the success and survival of the festival, which has featured thousands of artists over the past twenty-five years.
“The birth of MASA was under the authority of HE Alassane Ouattara, the then Prime Minister / current President of Ivory Coast and vision of former president Félix Houphouet-Boigny, who described the festival as a unifying phenomenon for the promotion of arts and culture”’ he said.
On behalf of the Ivorian President / Prime Minister, he offered a sincere welcome and a warm stay to all participants ranging from artists, professionals, journalists and visitors adding that the Ivorian capital Abidjan is set to be the cultural hub of the world during the festival.
Director General of MASA, Prof Yacouba Konate paid tribute to the initiators of the festival for a brilliant concept that included development through culture adding that it is a torch that has been carried aloft no matter the circumstances.
Following the opening ceremony, the festival moved in first gear with a number dramatic music, dance and theatre performances as well as fashion shows at the Palais de la Culture (a grand edifice overlooking the lagoon Ebrie), as well as venues in the suburbs of Plateau, Koumassi, Adjame and Youpougon.
Over 70 music, dance and theatre groups alongside poets, storytellers, slammers and street artists from various countries in the world are expected to perform during the festival, which ends on Saturday March 17.
Pictures by Mychel Tayee