IYABA IBO MANDINGO poet, painter, writer, and playwright – is a native of Antigua, West Indies, who came to the United States in 1980 as a young boy. His earliest exposures to the arts were through his mother, a professional 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 and around the tri-state area as a Master Teaching Artist. Iyaba is a two-time Connecticut Grand Slam champion and in 2011 won Yale University’s Martin Luther King Birthday Invitational Slam, his third such win. He appears regularly as a performance poet in venues across the United States and abroad, including Nuyorican Poetry Café and Brooklyn Moon, and was the keynote performer at the 2011 Westchester, NY Poetry Festival. He was recently seen at 59E59 in Deb Margolin’s The Expenses of Rain. He is the author of three chapbooks of poetry, 41 Times, Amerikkan Exile, 40 days & 40 nites of write, and a novel, Sins of My Fathers. He is a New York Theatre Workshop Summer 2011 Artist in Residence. Iyaba was awarded a national Percent for the Arts Program artist grant, as well as grants from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts, and multiple commendations from the Nassau County African American Museum. His artwork has been included in over a dozen group and individual shows in the tri-state area.