A few things have happened recently that have made me think of Ghana.
I have been taking family trips to Ghana for as long as I can remember, and they have always served as a welcome break from the noise of life in London. A time to not only reconnect with family and soak up some much needed Vitamin D, but also, in more recent years, a time to reconnect and realign creatively.
My most recent trip in October 2017, was a chance to celebrate and experience my dear friend’s wedding (and create something very special for their big day, more on that later) but I had a strong desire to explore more of Ghana outside of Accra and experience some of its rich craft & cultural heritage. Having visited Aburi, Cape Coast, Akosombo and Elmina on past trips, I became more curious about the craftsmanship that I’ve seen in the textiles, jewellery and traditional crafts that reside in Ghana, mainly within the collections of my mother, grandmother and aunts.
As a young child visits to Grandma Esther’s house in Kaneshi where my mother grew up were extremely common for myself and my sister. There is one visit in particular that I remember quite vividly. Grandma Esther spontaneously decided to dress my sister and I in traditional Kente cloth and Ashinɔ (traditional beads) and have a mini photo shoot! She carefully picked out each piece and I remember watching her sort through her vast collection of Ashinɔ to find the perfect piece for each Kente cloth. Even at a young age, I couldn’t stop staring at all the amazing colours and details of the different pieces she had, each piece unique and beautiful in its own way.
Her influence in my Mother’s style became clearer to me as I grew up and quietly observed the way she presented herself and her love for traditional African prints, and Ashinɔ. I started to pay more attention to how these influences present themselves in my ma’s style and started to share and document the beauty in the details, thus creating #nanaebum, a portion of my Instagram dedicated to her as well as the heritage left by my late Grandmother.
As an artist and designer, seeing these rich, dynamic colours, prints and traditional jewellery has inadvertently influenced the way I create, what my eye is drawn to and the value I place on creating.
I realised this much more on my last visit to Ghana.
Over the next few posts I will be sharing more from the Ghana: Home & Heritage series including my visits to Krobo Odumase and Bonwire where I experienced the process and craftsmanship of traditional crafts first hand.
I am excited to go on this journey with you.