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IYABA IBO MANDINGO – painter, poet, writer, actor and playwright - is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy.  His earliest exposure to the arts were through his mother, a trained singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and a seamstress who first introduced him to colors and patterns, paving a path to the many ways of expression; drawing, painting, sculpting, writing and performing.  Iyaba studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist.


Iyaba is a former Artist in Residence at the New York Theatre Workshop. Iyaba appeared regularly as a performance poet both in the United States and abroad including, the Fort Green Juneteenth Arts Festival, the Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café. In 2011, Iyaba was the keynote performer at the Westchester, NY Poetry Festival.  In 2015, Iyaba embarked on his first African tour bringing his 1Man play “unFRAMED” and his first novel “Sins of My Fathers” and his poetry to South Africa and Nigeria. In 2017 Iyaba debut his clothing line MandingoWear ©


Iyaba has been awarded several grants; the National Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and received multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum.  A renowned artist, many of Iyaba’s work has been included in several group and individual shows both in the United States and internationally.  Iyaba’s “Grave Marker Series” was displayed at the African American Museum of Philadelphia as part of a special exhibit “Arresting Patterns” 


Iyaba’s 1man play “unFRAMED” had an amazing Off-Broadway debut Spring 2017 at the Elektra Theater NYC. “unFRAMED” was also selected as a feature at the Harlem Arts Festival 2017 and the Rhode Island Fringe Festival.  Iyaba has been seen at the 59E59th St. Theatre as Henry in Deb Margolin’s “The Expenses of Rain” (Laura Barnett, director) and as Jackson Phillip in Derek Walcott’s “Pantomime” (E.Wayne McDonald, director).


A highly anticipated performance piece “AFRIKA360” saw its debut at the Bridgeport Art Trails in fall 2016 and will be touring in fall 2018.  Iyaba has authored three chapbooks of poetry, “41 Times”, “Amerikkan Exile” and “40 days & 40 nites of write” and co-produced a CD “Self Portrait”.  His first novel, “Sins of My Fathers”, was released in 2014.  “Fu You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56” his first collection of poetry was released in 2018 and is available on Amazon.  A signed copy can be purchased here on our website   

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