Masud Olufani, Atlanta based multi-disciplinary actor and artist, joins co-hosts Carol Morgan and Todd Schnick on this Around Atlanta segment of Atlanta Real Estate Forum Radio to discuss his career and his new exhibition at Hammonds House. Visual arts was something Olufani has been engaged with since he was four years old and has been developing ever since. When Olufani got to high school, he mainly acted for fun and as a way to pass the time. This hobby eventually turned into a career and a passion.
During his time in grad school at the Savannah College of Art and Design, Olufani accepted modeling jobs on the side to earn extra money. He also acted in local plays. One of his first was an Atlanta play called “The Meeting.” This local production was about a fictitious meeting between Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. The play received good reviews, and from there, Masud Olufani obtained an agent. He then stumbled through various auditions before landing his first role in Devious Maids. Things took off from there for this Atlanta artist.
“Stage is my first love,” commented Olufani when asked about his favorite form of art. “It’s the immediate response you get from the audience. When you can look in somebody’s eyes and tell when you got them and that they will go on the journey with you. That’s really gratifying.”
While still performing on stage, Olufani has also acted on television over the years. His most recent project is a news and talk show called Retro Report. Olufani is the co-host of this PBS program, along with Atlanta Journalist Celeste Headlee. The show takes a look at historical news stories through a contemporary lens. One example is a story on Colin Kaepernick. The two co-hosts tied the report back to black athletes kneeling during the 1960 Olympic Games. This shows that he was not an anomaly.
Retro Report wrapped up its inaugural season and Olufani has shifted his attention to his art exhibition at Hammonds House in Atlanta. Hammonds House is an art museum located in historic West End with the goal of preserving, exhibiting, interpreting and increasing public awareness of the contributions of visual artists of African descent. Olufani’s exhibit, titled Translocation and Transfiguration, will be at Hammonds House for display.
“Translocation being the movement of a person or people from one place to another. Transfiguration being this kind of notion of transcending or transforming based on your interaction in this new place and this new experience,” said Olufani when asked about his exhibit. “This exhibition is really about exploring those two themes visually through the cultural lens of the African American experience.”
Olufani spent his undergrad at Morehouse College, where Hammonds House was the most accessible art space to attend. He spent a lot of time walking the corridors of Hammonds House and became aware of the foothold in the cultural landscape of Atlanta. After being inspired at a young age at Hammonds House, Olufani finds it to be an honor and a privilege to be able to share his art work with the community through this medium.
“Everyone has a story to tell. I think one of the greatest gifts we can give to one another is to bear witness to each other’s stories,” said Olufani. “And to realize that ultimately, any one’s story is part of the larger story of humanity.”
For more information on Hammonds House and their current exhibits, visit www.HammondsHouse.org. You can also read more on Masud Olifani and see examples of his past work at www.masud-olufani.com. To hear the full interview, listen to the podcast above.
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