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  • Day Eleven! Top Ten Photos

    On only the second Day Eleven in Folklife Festival history, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to conclude our long-awaited return to the National Mall. All day, Independence Day revelers wandered their way through the grounds from neighboring festivities and stumbled upon our oasis of engaging conversation and learning. We watched in awe as the textile artist from Mongolia packed up his yurt and carried it on his back through the grass, students from the Aaniiih Nakoda Tribal College deconstructed their tipi, and artists from the United Arab Emirates presented their finished works after two weeks of collaborations.

    At Festival Foodways, we made chai karak (tea) and chbaab (Emirati pancakes) with Shamma Al Kamali for a late brunch, and feasted our eyes on UAE barbecue, Belizean lionfish, and traditional Omani and Bedouin cooking. NOON gave us one final, epic performance at Folklife Studio, and we closed our day learning about the future of sustainability across both the UAE and Earth Optimism.

    A man in yellow pants and no shirt kneels in the grass, holding two parallel poles at the rooftop opening of an upside-down wooden yurt structure.
    After unwrapping the fabric covering of his yurt (or ger in Mongolian), contemporary textile artist Enkhbold Togmidshirev hoisted the structure on his back and led a small ceremonial procession on the National Mall.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A man on woman sit on stage with microphones. The woman holds up and points to a small woven textile, with several striations of brown felt on top and squares of bright colors on the bottom.
    The procession ended at Earth Optimism Stories, where Togmidshirev and Munguntsetseg Lkhagvasuren, his wife, explained a bit about nomadic life and the “Five Jewels of Mongolia”: camel, goat, horse, sheep, and yak.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A man uses sign language, standing in front of a brightly colored painting on canvas of two men against a pink background.
    Painter Victor Sitali, born in Zambia and now based in Dubai, drew visitors into the Next Chapter Studio, representing artists with disabilities.
    Photo by Stanley Turk, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman in black hijab holds a small paper cup, smiling.
    Shamma Al Kamali tried her first sip of spiced chai karak made with American almond milk rather than cows’ milk. She liked it!
    Photo by Stanley Turk, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A three-piece band plays on an outdoor stage for a crowd, tan sun-shade panels stretched above. Behind them on stage, a screen reads United Arab Emirates.
    The busiest band at the Festival: NOON gave their ninth and final concert in the afternoon.
    Photo by Stanley Turk, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A blackboard with many messages written in pastel-colored chalk: Climate Deal Now, Love Each Other, LISTEN to Indigenous Americans!!! Save polar bears, HEMP, Teach my children to recycle, Buy Less.
    Over two weeks, visitors shared their actions and visions for a sustainable future.
    Photo by Phillip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman stands at a booth outdoors, showing off a small green potted plant. A poster on the table reads Ginseng Life Cycle.
    Anna Lucio, marketing specialist for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and one of our virtual-to-in-person participants, shows off one of the vegetal stars of the Earth Optimism × Folklife program: American ginseng.
    Photo by Xueying Chang, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A woman with tribal tattoos on her eye and chin, and others on her forearms, sands a piece of stone under a tent outdoors, with crowds of people passing by in the background.
    Tongva artist L. Frank invited visitors to sand whale stones and learn about the animal’s importance in Native Californian culture.
    Photo by Stanley Turk, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    On a black circular board, several eye-shaped pieces of painted wood, arranged as if bursting outward. Each is designed differently, including blue with gold calligraphy, a realistic eye in pastels, coffee beans glued to the surface, a white fishing net over blue paint, a piece of beeswax.
    Each of the UAE’s arts and occupational groups contributed to Azza Al Qubaisi’s “palm eye” installation. See the coffee beans, beeswax, calligraphy, and fishing net? What else can you spot?
    Photo by Phillip Lee, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives
    A group of dozens of people, some seated and some standing, pose, arms raised in the air and smiling.
    At the end of the day, the UAE delegation, along with staff, volunteers, and interns, took one last parting shot.
    Photo by Sonya Pencheva, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives

    It’s been an incredible two weeks on the National Mall celebrating the in-person return of culture of, by and for the people together. We’ve loved bringing you the top ten (or five), rain or shine, and want to thank our amazing photographers who captured these lasting memories from the Festival every day. To lead photographer Sonya Pencheva and volunteers Pruitt Allen, Jennifer Berry, Julie Byrne, Xueying Chang, Aaron Crabtree, Joshua Davis, Craig Fergus, Ethan Jordan, Phillip Lee, Daniel Martinez, Mark Roth, Yijo Shen, Stanley Turk, Peter Verastegui, Ronald Villasante, JB Weilepp, Josh Weilepp, and Mark C. Young—we couldn’t do this without you.

    Stay tuned to the Festival Blog for more artist profiles, audio and video features, photo essays, recipes, and more, but in the meantime, this is Team Top Ten signing off.

    Annabella Hoge is the 2022 Folklife Festival media intern, and Elisa Hough is the editor at the Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. Together they are Team Top Ten.

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