Sankofa, a word in the Twi language of Ghana, translates literally as “Go back and get it.” It’s closely associated in folklore with the image of a bird with its feet facing forward and its head turned backward holding an egg in its beak, sometimes stylized as a simple heart shape. It symbolizes the concept of drawing on the lessons of the past in order to build a successful future.
On Saturday, February 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Circle Creative Collective, in partnership with My Kingston Kids and Harambee, will host Sankofa: A Day of African Crafts at 122 Clinton Avenue in Kingston. Hands-on fun learning traditional artforms, accompanied by drumming, dance and food, will be the focus for this community event.
If you’ve ever visited the Gullah Geechee communities of coastal South Carolina, you’ll know that many artistic traditions that originated in Africa have been preserved generation-to-generation there. The skill of the quilters of Gee’s Bend is legendary, and their works once carried coded messages for the Underground Railroad. Exquisite, intricately woven sweetgrass baskets are a “must” souvenir for any visitor to the region. At the Sankofa event, attendees can participate in the making of a strip-weave community quilt or learn the secrets of traditional basketmaking from three generations of Gullah Geechee women. Another workshop will teach natural dyeing of upcycled fabrics using local plants and West African techniques. Community loom-weaving will go on all day. Drummer Ubaka Hill and the Percussion Orchestra of Kingston will perform twice, at 1 p.m. and again at 4.
Admission to Sankofa: A Day of African Crafts is by donation. To view the full schedule or to preregister for a workshop, visit www.circlecreativecollective.org/calendar.
Sankofa: A Day of African Crafts, Saturday, Feb. 15, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Donation, Circle Creative Collective, 122 Clinton Ave., Kingston, www.circlecreativecollective.org/calendar