Celebrating Olympic Aya

August 5, 2012

 

Runner design by Vector GraphicsThis week I have been blessed to be able to follow all the amazing physical feats of the athletes in London for  2012 Olympics.  Seeing the wonderful array of countries  represented has been a true treat for this “student of the world” !!  One of  the things we all admire about the Olympic athletes is how much they have gone thru and endured to get to the level of performance we see during the games. This concept of endurance and resourcefulness  is expressed in the Adinkra  symbols as Aya. If the Olympics had been developed in Ghana the medals probably would have  had the  Aya symbol engraved on them.   It is said that those who wear the symbol  have truly endured many adversaries and outlasted much difficulty – something I am sure the Olympians could easily discuss with us. 

Aya represents endurance

Adinkra symbol Aya represents endurance

 

I have  enjoyed seeing the tweets of support for these amazing athletes from around the world in my Twitter timeline.  This morning I received  several  RT ‘s  from @Afridiziak that she received via the UK Postal Service (@PostOffice) about the stamps they have created celebrating UK gold medalists.  Here is the stamp they have created for the UK Olympian Mo Farah.  He truly is an athlete that exemplifies  the concept of the Aya symbol during his career as a long distance runner. 

So this is a salute to celebrate the wonderful athletes and the strong message they tell the world  — Wave the flag of Aya over  all you do and you will see amazing results.

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I came across this cute Adinkra Magnet  craft over at the blog  Sacred Arts.  I love that it is simple but allows the crafter to create a colorful  Adinkra magnet as beautiful dimensional expressions.   Cori Lynn  offers a great tutorial with pictures on how to create these magnets using inexpensive coasters glue and a magnetic sheet.   The most time-consuming part of this project is allowing the glue to dry.  I have put this one on our list of crafts to include when we study West Africa!!  I think you could take this craft and use it to create many different unique magnets…Chineese letters, Yoruba numbers,  Swahili words and sooooo much more.  So head over to Sacred Arts and get started !  Please share the pics of all your beautiful creations and I promise to update here as we create our magnets too!!

Adinkra symbol Magnets

Adinkra Magnets from Sacred Arts

War Horn

Akoben represents vigilance

As the A to Z Challenge draws to a close I would like to take this space to extend a challenge to my readers.  Become vigilant for opportunities to promote positive energy.  I think we can all help  make the world the positive place we want it to be  by actively working to find ways to do good through our words and actions!    

Akoben is the adinkra symbol that represents vigilance.  It is the war horn that reminds us to be ready…..I think we all can become more vigilant about  where we can make positive change.  If we actively look for opportunities in our everyday lives to promote positive words, thoughts and actions we will collectively move the ball forward in the right direction.

 

 

So my friends take up the positive “war horn” as you go to work, school and shopping.   Let me know where you found opportunities to promote the positive!!

 

One of the reasons I love Adinkra symbols and have committed to “studying” them is their long history.  It fascinates me that these symbols have been passed down for so many generations in Ghana. They are some what unique because they are a printed form of communication and historically many African traditions are oral.   This is not to say that there are not other traditional written or printed expression on the African continent because there are others for sure!!  I plan to one day explore those too!   

Available at Africancraft.com
Adinkra Stamps

The methods used to print the Adinkra symbols have been passed down too.   Traditionally the symbols are carved into calabash.  The symbol is then printed on fabric using beautiful dyes.   The cloth that is created is a beautiful expression from the printer.   We now have many ways to “create” the Adinkra symbols but it is really important to remember the traditional ways and not lose this knowledge.   One day soon I would like to try my hand at printing on some cloth –  I will be sure to share the fun here.   

Here is a video featuring the Adinkra printing tools with explanation of some of the symbols.  Unfortunately I could not embed the video but click the link and Enjoy!

I  love everything Family!!  I am sure you have guessed this with the many posts I have written  which include something about family.   I have worked quite a bit on my own family history ……an amazing journey that I feel is a gift for my children.  I want them to know they are here because of the prayers, beliefs and hard work of those who preceded them in the family.  My daughter can proudly name 5 generations of  grandmothers!!   I am very fortunate because my maternal grandmother kept and shared a lot of family history which we have today.  I even have the daily diary of my Great Great Aunt circa 1900…..a true treasure and window into what life was like during those days….very hard!!

Sankofa design from Kiarablu

Sankofa reminds us to Return & Get what was left behind

I  encourage everyone to do some family research and/or documentation.  It is not only for yourself but also  for the children of your family.   If you are wondering “where do I begin”  ?  I suggest right where you are.  Begin with your immediate family,  your parents and grandparents.  Fill out the family tree with all that you know –  it will be more than you realize!!  Then begin the Sankofa journey……. ask for the information that is missing from other family members….siblings of your parents and grandparents, their children and spouses.  This  can be done at family gatherings ( even if it is not an “official” family reunion) …..bring the tree with you and connect with others and their families.

Click on the image below for your own family tree to fill out!!  

Adinkra Quilt

April 22, 2012

I have looked forward to the letter Q for this A to Z  Challenge from the begining because I knew I would do QUILT!!  Now I am not a quilter….yet.  It is on my long, long list of  learning sessions I would like to incorporate into my life.  As a full time wife and mom, blogger, business co-owner and more, I just can’t find the time right now.  I do however have many thoughts about an Adinkra quilt.   With each Adinkra symbol offering us a specific meaning we are given a great opportunity to develop a beautiful expression of our inner beliefs thru an Adinkra quilt.

Adinkra Quilt

12 Block Adinkra Quilt

Quilt crafter and teacher Debby Kratovil  has a full size Adinkra quilt pattern CD available on her site Quilter by Design.  The pattern includes 12 symbols and instructions for the blocks.   She does not mention if she includes the meanings for each symbol but if you would like to  look them up   visit  http://www.adinkra.org.

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Adinkra Quilt-056

The fabric designer Kweli Kitwana has a cute Adinkra design available at Spoonflower that can be used to create a quilt.  She offers several Adinkra designs that I think could be combined with this fabric also.    I am thinking about purchasing this fabric and adorning it with the  brass adinkra symbols  (see below)

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Available @ Cultured Expressions

Brass Adinkra symbols

Lisa Shepard at Cultured Expressions  offers unique Brass Adinkra adornments for your quilt.  I think  the addition of these beautiful brass pieces will give crafters  a unique dimensional  plane to their quilt.   Cultured Expressions also has several other adornment options, beautiful fabric and many more quilt treasures on the site.   If you are planning to create an Adinkra quilt be sure to visit Lisa’s site!

Once upon a time…..

April 19, 2012

Once upon a time…..this is the sweet beginning to  many fairy and folk tales from around the globe.  These stories are usually a tale that teaches a lesson to young children about how we should  treat one another.  In most cases good will win over the bad.  

 ANANSI

Our vision for ANANSI

Anansi  Stories  are folk tales about a little spider  that originated in Ghana, West Africa. Parents have used the humorous stories to teach their children life lessons for many, many generations.    Today we can find Anansi, his wife Aso and their  children,  happily tucked  into the memories of folks all across the African Diaspora.  From Ghana, to the Caribbean, to the South  Eastern  US. You will always get a wide smile and pleasant reminiscing eyes upon the mention of the  humorous trickster  named Anansi.

My children have come to love Anansi stories and are always so happy to sit quietly and watch videos with the stories on the computer.  We even have a “bean dance’ that was inspired by the funny moves Anansi makes when he hides the hot beans.   (ck out the video below)

 

Adinkra Symbol Ananse NTONTAN

The Spiders Web Represents wisdom and creativity

The Adinkra symbol Ananse  NTONTAN represents wisdom and creativity…..now the question is which came first?  Stories of the creative little spider OR the symbol which inspired someone to create him?  

Here is  our favorite Anansi story:

Kente….Duafe in Cloth

April 12, 2012

As a fabric lover and quasi cloth collector I immediately thought of Kente for the letter K.   Kente cloth is a traditional woven cloth orginating in Ghana, West Africa.  This beautiful colorful fabric is handwoven by the Akan people  which includes the Ashante, Bono, Fante, and Nzeme.  Historically Kente was worn for very important occasions and was used by royalty and kings.   In more modern times, use of this For Graduationamazing fabric has become more widespread but it continues to be looked upon as special.  Here in the United States many African Americans adorn their graduation robes  with a strip of Kente cloth as a cultural signal of the special significance of the day.

Kente cloth is hand woven and stands out because of the brilliant multicolored  geometric patterns.  These patterns  have names and the people of  Ghana choose their cloth by not only the color and pattern but also the names given to the unique designs.   The Kente cloth names are derived from several sources including proverbs and historical events.  Another source of significance within the Kente cloth is the colors themselves – each color being used has significance For example Black represents  maturation / intensified spiritual energy,  blue represents  peacefulness/ harmony and love.

Colorful woven Kente

Beautiful

I find this cloth to be amazingly beautiful.   Because of cost I have only a few strips  but have supplemented  my fabric stash with printed Kente.  The printed version  of course, does NOT have the same quality or level of significance as the woven fabric  but gives me a beautiful reminder of the original Duafe from Ghana.

Adinkra symbol Duafe

Duafe

I would like to give a BIG  shout out to my dear hubby Kamau here who created this beautiful Kente Duafe design above at last minutes notice….Aren’t I lucky to have an artist right here at my beck and call!!  I am so appreciative!   Feel free to drop by his blog Kamgraphix and invite him to join in  the A to Z challenge fun!!

First Leader of Independent Ghana

Kwame Nkrumah

Today  I would like to share a beautiful  video that I came across sometime ago.  I have held onto the link with the intention to share it here but never found quite the “right” moment.  The  video below is a beautiful tribute by the singer Becca to her home country Ghana in West Africa.    As Becca sings about her positive wishes for Ghana   we are treated to a variety of images that includes  historical  events, geographical wonders and famous Ghanaians.   One of my favorite portions of the video is the opening  because it captures footage of  Ghana leader Kwame Nkrumah.  I also just love the beautiful dress that the singer wears !!  Gotta love how she hightlights her Duafe with  the Black Stars!!

One  day I hope to travel to the beautiful country of Ghana.  Have you been to the amazing country where Adinkra symbols originated?

Ghana – Becca – Ghana
This blog is part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge

Part of the A to Z Blogging Challenge

Sankofa Art

March 7, 2012

The Adinkra symbol Sankofa is a powerful statement to many across the African Diaspora.  For many of us it represents  our strong desire to reach back…way back to our ancestral home and learn about the culture our forefathers and mothers had to leave behind.  We have much of that culture within us and we don’t even know it!

As a salute to this powerful symbol that stands as  a strong reminder of our journey to African knowledge I would like to share this photo of the artwork by Goddess Angelika   I am so happy to see my enlightened Brothers and Sisters sharing the knowledge of the beautiful Adinkra symbols. This trend of sharing is the key for us all to join the powerful Sankofa journey.

Sankofa by Goddess Angelika

Adinkra symbol Sankofa

For more African cultural expressions thru poetry and art visit Goddess Angelika Tumblr