The Sankofa Center: A Women's Cooperative for Arts and Education
/San-ko’-fa:// an ancient proverb evoking people to return to their past to correct mistakes. Traditionally, this is symbolized by a bird looking back on its past carrying the egg of its birth. Therefore, The Sankofa Center uses the communication tool of Africa’s past, dance dramas, to capture and foster health, compassion, and open-mindedness in the face of HIV today. - The Sankofa Center
As bright as the spirit of Africa, colorful West African fabrics like those created by the Sankofa Center in Ghana bring together a varied and eye-pleasing mélange of patterns and shades. From geometric and intricate to floral and natural, these patterns and colors are based on traditional tribal wear, with each pattern unique to a certain tribe. The work accomplished by the Sankofa Center is further rooted in traditional African culture in another way. Through modern interpretations of age-old dramatic dance, the center strives to inform and educate audiences on the topic of HIV/AIDS, using the poignancy and story-telling power of the dance to spread knowledge about prevention, detection and treatment.
The beautiful fabric textiles the center creates also play a role in this important mission. The vibrant wax dyed fabrics are transformed into functional pieces of textile art by the hands of local Ghanaian women. Through employing local women, the center empowers them, enabling more security and independence for the region's women. The fabrics are dyed using a method very similar to batik-dying, applying wax as a resistance zone on the fabric when dyed. Once dunked and dyed and as colorful as the rainbow, these fabrics are then sewn into functional pieces of chic, unique clothing, accessories, and home décor, like this bright and beautiful duvet set.
With one foot firmly rooted in traditional African culture, the Sankofa Center manages to use these significant cultural elements to speak to and spread awareness regarding current crises in Africa, encouraging education and empowerment through artistic media.
See the entire collection of Ghanaian handcrafts here.