Juneteenth 2021 Project - Kente Cloth Painting
Juneteenth is a holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had been enslaved in the United States. It marks the date, June 19, 1865, when news of emancipation reached Texas, freeing 250,000 Black people; this was 2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation.
Now a New Jersey state holiday...Happy Juneteenth!
History of Kente Cloth
The colorful patterned fabrics known as kente can be traced back to the Asante people of the Akan kingdom in what is now Ghana. The word "kente" actually translates to "handwoven cloth" in the Twi language of the Akan people.
The colors of the cloth each hold symbolism: gold = status/serenity, yellow = fertility, green = renewal, blue = pure spirit/harmony, red = passion, black = union with ancestors/spiritual awareness.
Kente cloth sheets are assembled out of sewing together long strips or bands of fabric, each 6”-10” wide. Each one of these bands are themselves composed of panels of alternating designs. Each weaver creates this patchwork appearance through a complex interplay of the warp (the threads pulled left to right during weaving) and weft (threads oriented up and down).
These warp and weft motifs form a repertoire of craft work, as Asante weavers give each one a name that indicates clan, social status, etc. Richly expressive and personalized Kente meanings emerge out of clever combinations of colors with various warp and weft designs.
Source: https://www.aaihs.org/the-history-and-significance-of-kente-cloth-in-the-black-diaspora/ https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/06/11/875054683/kente-cloth-from-royals-to-graduation-ceremonies-to-congress
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