Writings of the general word's body

Monday, January 21, 2008


'Adinkra', commonly believed to mean 'Farewell' in the Twi language, is the name given to one of the two main forms of textile preparation and presentation in Ghana, West Africa. This sentiment is better understood when the application of these iconographic designs is viewed in its traditional context. Adinkra is derived from the Akan word 'nkra' or 'nkara' meaning 'Message' or 'Intelligence'. In addition to this, the Akan word for soul is 'Okra' or 'Nkara'. We could therefore extrapolate that Adinkra is the message or acquired intelligence that the soul returns to its maker on departure from this world to the next.
Adinkra is an exhibition of works by
Rebecca N K Gibbs, inspired by the artist's Ghanaian & British grandmothers. On display on
weekdays until February 7 @ the Kuumba Arts Centre, Bristol.
Kummba Arts Centre
20-23 Hepburn Road
St Paul’s


Anonymous said...

I just surfed on in to your blog thru my google alert set for 'adinkra'. I am a Nigerian born, US based jewelry artist and designer and I am focusing on incorporating adinkra symbols into my work. Thanks for providing more info on the meaning of the word and symbols.

Wordsbody said...


Thanks for your comment. I knew only a bit about Adinkra myself, principally that the symbols were originally to be found on funereal cloths. Its most famous use in visual art that I'm aware of, is in the work of El Anatsui.

The Adinkra reference in this post however, is taken from the press release for Gibbs' exhibition, hence the italics.

Uzo said...

I wish i could attend this exhibition...Never heard of Adinkra

Frank Partisan said...

Interesting post.

Unknown said...

Oh -- this is really great! I remember Rebecca from waaaay back when her family lived in Ibadan. Nice to hear about this exhibit.