Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sankofa



In this image the camera's light setting wasn't quite right, but the I'm including it because it best captures the sun lighting up the carnelian. The entire piece is made up of a carnelian ----- and a carnelian briolette from Turquoise Magpie, suspended from a brass frame. My client is going to hang it in her window. I call this piece Sankofa. It will make a gorgeous window and room display.


In the Adinkra African writing system of the Akan people of Ghana and Corte ‘d Ivorie there is for me one symbol that recognize more than any other that life is transformational. That symbol is Sankofa.


Of all of the intrepretaions I found regarding the concept of Sankofa, this text from W.E.B. DuBois Learning Center has resonance for me:

"se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki."

"it is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot".




The Akan Symbol Project at Marshal University

expands on the ideas of memory and knowledge with the following;

The Akan believes that knowledge must have practical bearing on the conduct of life. This is portrayed by the aphorism:

Nyansa nye sika na woakyekyere asie
-

Wisdom is not like money which may be kept in a safe;
or,
". . .one does not collect wisdom in a bag,
lock it up in a box
and then go to say to a friend,
"teach me something."








This second Sankofa piece is a pendant

of onyx and copper.




The idea I'm trying to work on is --our futures are not shackled by our past but given flight by knowledge of the past. Because the symbol is interpreted as two birds

or one bird flying in two directions

or a bird and an egg.

I see the concept of Sankofa as speaking to the multiple identities we wear, the multiple paths we can and do choose to travel and as a result the multiple possibilities we have when we allow ourselves to hear and see the past and the future from the position we exist in today.


Here are a few more images I’ve used to inform my work with wire and gemstones. I love the stylization of these image.

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