Two Oakland artists take on a massive mural in the city's downtown, only to find themselves at the center of the debate over gentrification and cultural resiliency.
Dr. Zakariya Diouf is the Founder and Director of Diamano Coura West African Dance Company. He received his Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from U.C. Berkeley and was director of the Mali Ensemble, a multinational company representing the unity of the West African countries of Mali, Senegal, and Guinea. He became director of “Les Ballet Africaines” in 1963 and later Le Ballet National du Sénégal from 1964-1968. In 1969, he joined the faculty of Southern Illinois University, working with Ms. Katherine Dunham. Dr. Diouf has taught at San Jose University, Sonoma State University, the University of San Diego, the University of California of Los Angeles and San Francisco, and California State University-East Bay. Dr. Diouf currently teaches West African music, dance, and history at Laney Community College in Oakland. He has done extensive research into African music and dance along with choreographing some of the best dance and dramatic pieces for renowned companies including the San Francisco Ballet. In 2005, along with the Honorable Ron V. Dellums, Dr. Diouf was honored with the Community Leadership Award by the San Francisco Foundation for his vision in unifying the African cultural arts community, for serving as a mentor and educator of young artists, and for his artistic contributions to the development of African-based performing arts. On June 22, 2013 he received the Malonga Casquelourd Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival.