Sonya Clark

The Kente Flag Project

The Kente Flag Project involved the making of a hybridized cultural object, its presentation to people with a hybridized identity, and their imbuing of the object with their narratives. The piece mixed elements of African and Western/American culture. Handwoven in an African weave structure but on an European loom, the piece combined American flad and Ghanaian kente cloth (both symbols of identity and cultural pride). Kente patterns for strength and endurance, advancement and achievement, and prosperity were woven into the design.

A gele is a woman’s headwrap. Its beauty is in the individuality expressed when each woman wraps her head. Fifty African American women were asked to wrap their heads and be photographed. While wearing the gele, they were asked how they felt about kente cloth, the flag, and the term “African American”.

“Clark’s authentic obsession springs in part from the potent, multisensory memories of having her hair combed and braided as a child”

—Ashley Kistler
Director, Anderson Gallery