Rastafari Bead & Shell Necklace

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Jah, Rastafari! Here we have a hand crafted necklace from Ghana.

The necklace is made of black colour beads, ebony wood and a little shell. It also has three bigger beads in the traditional rasta colours red, yellow and green (from the Ethiopian flag) on each side of the shell.

Fastens in the back with a screw-on lock.Lenght: 44cm

Retails at £2.99 – postage included!

To get yours, visit Atkins Academy.

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Akua’maa, African Fertility Doll

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According to African legend, the bearer of a fertility doll will give birth to a beautiful child. In Ghana and in most parts of Africa, fertility dolls represent youth and fertility.

Akua’maa are carved wooden figures that are believed to induce pregnancy and ensure safe delivery at birth. A priest giving the fertility deity conducts the rites, afterwards the women carries the doll and treats it like a real child, dressing it up, adorning it with jewelry and putting it to bed. After the mother gives birth to a daughter, she may give the doll to her to play with (this type of gift teaches child care).

If one closely observes the structure of a fertility doll you will notice a distinct similarity to the Ankh, an ancient Egyptian or Kamitic symbol of life. It has a huge round head and body, and it is shaped like a cross. The head is symbolic of the feminine womb. The shape is a reminder of the active, yet passive manifestations of the womb, which are receptive and gestation. The female egg receives the male sperm, thus gestation occurs: but can only happen during the ovulation point in the woman’s cycle. This is why the womb is considered receptive, it is a receiver and receptacle.

The body of the fertility doll is shaped like a cross, and is similar to the lower part of the ankh. This lower section is similar to a Kamitic symbol known as the Djed, which according to legend is the backbone of the God Ausar (Osins). In the spiritual teachings of ancient Egypt. Ausar possesses great power because his emotions and thoughts are stable and unwavering. The Djed symbol, being Ausar’s spinal energy, but needs an antenna to receive spinal energy. This column conducts both parts of the Akwoba figure and are important.

The Akau’maa illustrate the Ashanti concept of beauty: a high oval forehead that in reality is achieved by massaging an infant’s soft skull; a small mouth: and a neck ringed to depict creases caused by fat, indicating a healthy diet.

What makes the fertility doll so special is it’s reason for being created. African ancestors made symbols out of everything. This brings us to Hieroglyphics and the reason why they are so intriguing.

In the past people would not get caught up in language barriers, as symbols served the same meaning for all nations and therefore the Fertility doll is one of those symbols that stood the test of time. For as long as human history has existed, fertility dolls or symbols have been revered . Long before we knew how babies were made, how crops grew, we knew that our existence depended on renewal of fertility.

Height: 23cm Width: 11cm Weight: 114g. Don’t understand centimetres? Check out this online converter!

Get yourself a piece of ancient magic or give it to someone who is trying to conceive. Contact me here or find it in the shop.

A Message of Spirits, History and Good Luck

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Back in history the African masks are dramatic portraits of spirit beings, departed ancestors and invisible powers of social control. Each mask was made according to traditional style.

The African masks that hang on walls of Western art museums, detatched from their full-body costumes, were originally part of whole performance ensembles, consisting of elaborately costumed dancers, vibrant music and highly stylized dances. These complex ceremonial events expressed important social, religious and moral values for the whole community. With careful attention to the masks’ artistic and symbolic detail, it is possible to perceive these same values within the mask themselves.

Gifty Naa DK presents traditional and contemporary African masks, wall hangings and statuettes from Ghana. Not only do they carry the message of custom spirits and history, but also good luck and the soul of cultural celebrations. All pieces are handcrafted and detailed; they are usually made of mahogany, ebony or walnut wood. Some of the wall hangings are inspired by village life and mythology studies.

Talking Drums all Have Their Own Language

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In Africa, drums are very important in ceremonies and other cultural celebrations when the tonal patterns of the drumming match the tonal patterns of the spoken messages, allowing the drums to “speak”. Gifty Naa DK features a variety of “speaking” drums, each with its own “language”.

It is widely recognised that Africa has a rich variety of instruments and in the case of drums there is the goblet, conical, barrel, cylindrical, and frame (obviously they would be named within the certain dialect). The drums of Africa are also represented in an entirely dissimilar way to the Western culture’s point of view. Drums span various tonal frequencies to imitate voices and some are actually tuned, like timpani and to play pieces with vocals, solo, but not tuned like a xylophone with measured hollow chunks of wood.

Africa is not a country. It is a continent like Europe or America so it must be realised that in it will lie as many various styles as in our Western continents too. Hence drums in Africa belong to particular regions of the continent. The entenga tuned drum ensembles of the kings in Uganda, the processional drums carried on horseback in northern Nigeria, the ritual drums laid horizontally on platforms in coastal West Africa, and the hourglass drum of West Africa that plays, glides, and slides off pitch as the player presses the thongs connecting the heads and tightening the skins with lightning velocity, all these are examples of African drums.

Music, as it has no meaning in any African language, was not going to be the only use for such developed drums, or any other instrument for that matter. Music is not merely about entertainment. African peoples make and listen to music that is intimately bound to the visual and dramatic arts as well as the larger fabric of life  music is integrated into life, and though diversity throughout Africa is apparent, some common elements penetrate the myriad of details.

The use of talking drums is a fine example of music throughout Africa being employed to further the use of instruments and to aid their existence through integration with traditional apparatus. African languages operate on two levels: rhythmic speech and tonal inflexion. Combined, these may be interpreted by differently- pitched drums or single log drums capable of producing more than one pitch, any ambiguities becoming clear by intelligent appreciation of the context. The music and drums are almost always an accompaniment for any manner of ceremony – births, deaths, marriages – together with a ritual dance. The vicious sound of many drums pounding together is also a necessary instalment to stir up emotions in a battle or war to inspire excitement and passion. But with the music and the beating of drums meaning so much to the African people, it must be realised that there is an essential feeling to the music. On a spiritual level it is vital to everyday life, but with the addition of stirring rhythms, provokes a need to take part and listen so the combination of vastly developed music, far from the influence of commercialism. The need to survive by way of music suggests exactly what it really means to people.

Design Expressing Your Mind and Emotion

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In Africa, design is an art of expressing your mind and emotion to the public. The people of Ghana create beautiful kente cloth, brass castings, stamped Adinkra cloth used on funerals, stools carved of wood and royal arts.

Gifty Naa DK’s clothing’s are mostly made by fabrics of high quality cotton, soft and durable with a glossy finish. I also have tie-dye, batiks and linens. The designers from Ghana create elegant shapes and exquisite embroidery. There are embroidered scarves and hats to match.

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Gifty’s Traditional African Crafts

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One of the leading importers of African wood carvings in London, I stock a wide range of pieces including African drums, wooden figures, wall figures and masks, king and queen stools and woven baskets. I will upload more pictures here soon as these beautiful traditional pieces should be enjoyed by as many people as possible.

Gifty Naa DK – A Woman of Many Talents

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” is the most appropriate of titles for Gifty Naa DK’s life. The Ghanaian artist who defines herself as an all-round performer and multi-instrumentalist is quite an amazing woman.

Gifty set foot in Britain in 1979, as part of the Bokoor (“cool”) band, touring and performing nationally to teach drumming around the country. In the early 1990s, she decided to make it on her own, releasing two albums, including the very soulful and pleasant “Etome” in 1998.

A woman of many talents, Gifty also developed a career as a hairstylist, opening her first salon, “It Will Grow Back” in East London in the early 2000s.

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She was a hair design pioneer, with “the tree hairstyle”, which owed her commissions by the Hackney Museum and the organisers of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.
“It Will Grow Back” specialises in braiding, from conrows to corkscrew to twists, and although Gifty had relocated the business in North London, she is now operating and runs all her activities from her home in Old Street.

And this is not all. About four years ago, Gifty turned herself into an arts & crafts dealer, and founder of Boko Arts, which sees her ship the finest Ghanaian arts and crafts to London. Her selection of crafts includes masks, drums, mural friezes/fresques, human size statues, which she sells at very affordable prices, starting at £10.

She will be hosting a showroom and sale from Friday 26th September to Sunday 28th September. But which of these many caps does she prefer wearing? Without hesitation Gifty clearly states: “Music is my walking stick! I feel safe with music around: it gives me confidence”

So, after performing across the country and in the capital, notably at the Ghanaian Embassy and the Africa Centre in Covent Garden, why hasn’t she been seen on stage much lately? Gifty confesses that she’s been the victim of “many ill-intentioned people in the business” and that a lot of her music has been leaked and uncredited to her. While after all the years in the industry, one might find such experience disheartening, Gifty doesn’t and is still on the lookout for a suitable manager, who could help her resurface and share her talents to the largest numbers. In the meantime, she still finds enjoyment in teaching her skills, that are drumming, singing, hairstyling and dancing, to the younger generation.

And only God knows how much there is to learn from, excuse the obvious play on words, this gifted lady!

Solange Moffi

http://www.foreignersinuk.co.uk/our_heroes-gifty_naa_d._k_a_woman_of_many_talents_168.html