IYABA IBO MANDINGO – painter, poet, writer, actor and playwright – is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the United States in 1980 at eleven years old with his mother and younger sister. His earliest exposure to the arts came from his mother, a trained singer, and his grandparents, a tailor and seamstress who introduced him to colors, pattern, and form. Iyaba studied fine arts at Southern Connecticut State University and today teaches in and around the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist. Iyaba has graced many a stage as a performance poet in venues across the United States and abroad, including the Fort Green Juneteenth Arts Festival, where his clothing brand MandingoWear© made its debut in 2017. He has also appeared at the Nuyorican Poetry Café, Brooklyn Moon, and Next Door Café among others and was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival. In 2015 he embarked on his first African tour bringing his one-man play “unFRAMED”, his first novel “Sins of My Fathers”, and his poetry to South Africa and Nigeria. Iyaba has been the recipient of several grants and awards, including the National Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and the Nassau County African American Museum. His artwork has been included in many group and individual shows in the United States and internationally. His one-man play “unFRAMED” had an amazing Off-Broadway debut in Spring 2017 at the Elektra Theater NYC after enjoying a successful two-year run Off-Broadway in 2011-12. The play also had a successful run at the Harlem Arts Festival 2017 and the Rhode Island Fringe Festival. He has previously been seen at 59 East 59th 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). He is a former Artist in Residence at the New York Theatre Workshop. A new, highly anticipated performance piece “AFRIKA360” enjoyed a successful debut at the Bridgeport Art Trails. Iyaba has authored three chapbooks of poetry, “41 Times”, “Amerikkan Exile” and “40 days & 40 nites of write” and coproduced a CD “Self Portrait”. His first novel, “Sins of My Fathers”, was released in 2014. His first collection of poetry “You Tongue Heavy Lakka 56” was released in 2018. His first children’s book “Navel String (Belly Button)” will be released winter 2020.


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