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1901 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
United States

(412) 228-5160

The Ujamaa Collective is a non-profit organization of women of African descent who are entrepreneurs, artisans, artists and individuals who are committed to serving their community through leadership. Through Ujamaa, artisans will have an economic outlet for their work, micro-enterprises will have the support to grow, customers will gain access to locally-produced items, and Pittsburgh will have a regional destination to draw customers and visitors to the Historic Hill District.

Adinkra series -Intro-


Adinkra series -Intro-

LaKeisha Wolf


Adinkra is the name given the colorful, hand-painted and hand-embroidered cloth commonly used for mourning by the Akan people of Ghana and Southeastern Cote d I'voire. Art is a very important part of Akan culture and tradition. In their funerary arts, this special cloth is adorned with Akan, or adinkra symbols. These symbols are arranged on the cloth in a specific manner to convey a parting message to the deceased. The transliteration of the word adinkra means, "a message one gives to another when departing." Adinkra symbols reflect traditional mores and specific communal values, philosophical concepts, codes of conduct, and the social standards of the Akan people. These Akan symbols are stamped on varied-colored cloth and symbolize parables, aphorisms, proverbs, popular sayings, historical events, hairstyles, traits of animal behavior or shapes of inanimate or man-made objects. The symbols have multi-layered meanings and different levels of interpretation. Adinkra represent common wisdom relating to the notion of God, quality of human relations, the spirituality of life and the inevitability of death. They tend to represent uplifting, motivating and character building attributes of the individual. Today, adinkra cloth is available commercially due to economic changes in Ghana, and is now worn extensively as everyday clothing. Adinkra has also become an important cultural export from Ghana to the rest of the world, including the African American community. Adinkra designs are are used not only in cloth, but also jewelry and artistic motifs in interior decorating, stationary, business cards and  for the logos and mottos of organizations and businesses.

~Taken from The Adinkra Dictionary, A Visual Primer on the Language of Adinkra by W. Bruce Willis



Stay posted for more Adinkra symbols and their meanings on our "Adinkra Series"......