An interview with Siddi Maju

Siddi Maju developed from a B-Boy in the night clubs of the Kono District of Sierra Leone, to an Afro-Street Dance teacher in Liverpool and nowadays, you’ll find him in Hull.

As a multifaceted artist, what artforms do you explore and work in?
I love using any form of performing art, from comedy as a way to promote community cohesion and to teach the history of African dance and its influences, to poetry, street dance and other genres of dance.

How did you get into the arts?
My journey into performing art (Dancing) started when I glimpsed one of our senior guys (Idrisa Bah) from my town back home in Sierra Leone, in a group dance performance. As young people of my age were not allowed into this type of night club - but my uncle was able to get me in for twenty minutes - this performance motivated me a lot. I started teaching myself some of the moves. I also hung out with guys who were involved in street dance who taught me basic B-BOY rules...The rest was history.

Has being based in Hull had any influence or made any changes to your practice or work?
Coming to Hull, a twinned city of my capital city Freetown in Sierra Leone has been a blessing. I'm working closely with the Sierra Leone Association in Hull and the Freetown Society to promote events that benefit both Hull and Freetown. I'm also a board member of the Hull African Caribbean Association (HACA).

Hull City has its challenges to support its own local artists, so I'm not expecting much. But I create my moments and occasions and grab any opportunity that comes my way to develop my work. I'm grateful to Kerry and Bruce of Hullzapopping (Kingston Swing) and Ruth Drake in the Arts Department of Hull City Council for giving me platforms to develop my work in my new home.

It’s an exciting time for black artists in Hull and the North, especially with the new opportunity from Slate - a new international programme at our door step, to support black independent artists like me.

I’m looking forward to working with my local Slate Enabler and mentor, Melanie Abrahams.

I’m also proud to have an audience development role as part of Eclipse Theatre's Black Men Walking tour in 2018 - a show which tells a Northern black story - as well as using this role to engage more with the wider community in Hull.

What are you looking forward to this and/or next year?

I plan to develop my work further and connect Hull artists with my contacts in Liverpool, as part of Hull's City of Culture legacy for the next two years. I'm looking to collaborate with local artists to create a community theatre company at HACA, in order to develop short plays that help to educate our youth about our African and Caribbean Heritages and our long-standing commonwealth links and legacy.

Click here to see footage of Sid Maju and fellow contributors speaking about their experiences of Street Dance in Liverpool over the years.

An interview with Siddi Maju