Thoughts of a Kente weaver on the unity of African art, culture, design and spirituality

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Africa is the source and origin of human life and much of humanity’s history, culture and evolution. Many of the foundations of science, medicine, astronomy, technology and mythology are directly traceable to Ancient Egypt (Kemet), later disseminated to Western civilization through Greece and Rome. Despite the oppression and underdevelopment of colonialism as well as limited access to Western finance and investment, modern Africa remains powerful in its humanity, cultures and natural resources. In this new millennium modern Africa is undergoing an African Renaissance – a rebirth of classical African values and expressions – through globalization, new technologies, entrepreneurial ventures, music and popular culture and the Internet.

African aesthetics are powerful, and Kente weaving comes out of a great pantheon of African artistic expression that includes music and dance. African art is the most abstract art on the planet and African paintings, sculptures and carvings inspired the “genius” Pablo Picasso to create the “revolution” of “Cubism” that was the “birth” of modern art.  With the mass media emphasis on war, crisis, poverty and corruption – along with primitive, stereotyped Eurocentric depictions of Africa going back centuries – Africa’s true artistic, intellectual and cultural heritage becomes distorted and obfuscated.  Nonetheless, we see Africans from all over the Continent and throughout the Diaspora finding new audiences, new art forms and innovations, new voices and influence in the emerging African Renaissance.

Through this blog I hope to share stories, articles and ideas that help shine a light  on some of these themes. I’ll also be posting information on my upcoming exhibitions and workshops, and my own musings, as well. As a Kente weaver, I was born into a profound and beautiful African tradition, but I also see my role as expanding a vision of the Kente tradition that makes it more accessible and relevant to this modern age.  And it is my hope that readers will find this same spirit in the posts that are shared here. Follow this blog, and comment on some of the post, if you feel so inclined.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with ideas and resources for this blog that may relate to other artists, designers, entrepreneurs, scientists, writers, etc.  This is an extraordinary age and there are many people who can help us appreciate the tremendous beauty and power of our African soul and spirit.

Ase,         Kwasi Asare

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