At Adinkra Links we are a network of poets working in collaboration across the world drawing on Adinkra symbols as a creative resources from which we create and connect or connect and create. We write to connect and share with the world. This websites tells the story of what we share and how we share through the volumes of poetry anthologies, conversations, spoken word films, pictures and music to which published and unpublished poets are contributing.
Adinkra like other symbol systems in West Africa, is a large body of text that uses symbology to encapsulate the knowledge systems, conceptual and metaphoric perception, understanding and expression of the philosophy of life and the social among the Akan people of Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Adinkra is used to make sense of society and to create meaning in everyday life. The symbols are widely used to communicate, primarily through textile, but also through sculpture and architecture and other creative arts and crafts genres. The symbols are gradually gaining global usage both for their aesthetic and communicative values for both ‘speakers’ and ‘non-speakers‘ of Adinkra; for example, they were used in the Marvel film Black Panther but also earlier, for the wrappings on the Fair Trade chocolate - Divine Chocolate. Adinkra is both a philosophical and artistic language in equal measure.
However, unfortunately we have also encountered Adinkra in Scotland in a far less glorious context where the symbols were languishing, imprisoned under lock in storage occurring on artefacts collected from Ghana as museum collections. Worse, is the fact that the symbol system is not fully studied as part of the schools curriculum and deployed linguistically in Ghana as it could and should be. At best, most people engage with Adinkra as abstract symbols and artefacts. They do not explore the deep philosophical and linguistic values and encoded in the ‘aesthetics of the artefact’. So it's potential as a cultural resource is still not fully explored. The symbols are underused, and still to be developed as a potential iconic cultural treasure with a large global profile. As a result, even though Adinkra travels beyond the borders of its native West Africa in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, it is not well known and well valued as it should be.
On a more positive note, The work of Dr Tordzro in Scotland who led him to artefacts that had Adinkra symbols in the storage of the Hunterian Museum in the University of Glasgow. He resolved with his wife Naa Densua Tordzro to expose, promote and uplift the knowledge and usage of Adinkra Symbols. This has resulted in high profile engagement with the symbol system resulting for example, the team in the office of The UNESCO Chair on Refugee Integration Through Languages and The Arts (UNESCO RILA) in the School of Education drawing on Adinkra for academic study, intellectual understanding, linguistic and artistic expression.
AdinkraLinks is a continuation of the initial work by Dr Tordzro and Naa Densua Tordzro in schools and communities across Glasgow. The schools workshops - The Adinkra Creative Links Workshops - engaged pupils to discuss their social experiences, create songs, stories, poems and print their own symbols. The workshops normally culminated in class presentations as well as community events at which the pupils presented.
The AdinkraLinks Network seeks to create new work that emerges out of people connecting and engaging with each other through writing and publication, discussions, friendships and interaction across the world, virtually and physically.
Dr Gameli Tordzro (Founder & Editor)
The contributing poets to Funtunfunefu Synched include: Gameli Tordzro, Maysura Asher Farzia, Senanu Adzo Tordzro, Josephine Nketiah, Donna Borokinni, Marie-Claire Nyinawumuntu, and Rasoul Najedmehr and Sara Kindon
Funtunfunefu Synched is the first volume of the the Adinkra Series. This volume draws on the the theme of 'Funtunfunefu' the conjoined crocodiles that share one stomach yet fight over food, and calls on us to review the folly of fighting over our shared global resources.
'Funtunfunefu Synched' is an anthology of One Hundred and One poems compiled and edited by Gameli Tordzro and published in June 2019. It has contribution from seven other poets who live in Glasgow and Edinburgh in Scotland, Gothenburg in Sweden, Accra in Ghana and Wellington in New Zealand.
The book is available here on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats.