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Afro-Cuban artist Manuel Mendive believes he began painting “many, many years ago, perhaps even before I was born.” By drawing on African dancing and drumming in his performance art—and literally drawing images of birds, fish, and reptiles on the bodies of the dancers from Cuban companies who perform with him—Mendive attempts to preserve the Yoruba culture enslaved Africans brought with them to the Caribbean. In his first work, La Comida, Mendive is like a high priest who has prepared a meal for Chango, the mirthful Santeria god of thunder and fire who represents life’s happiest moments and doesn’t mind a plate of good food every now and then. Audiences will participate in the tributary meal as Mendive distributes morsels of food to them. Mendive’s other pieces are no less celebratory or ambitious: El Hombre y Sus Ancestros acknowledges the role of ancestors in guiding and surrounding the human experience, and El Cuerpo y la Naturaleza suggests that the body and nature are inextricably intertwined. Mendive performs at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 29, 8 p.m. Friday, April 30, and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May 2, in the Kennedy Center’s Atrium. $25. (202) 467-4600. (Ayesha Morris)