March 18, 2016


This Side of Creation is the companion blog for ODE. It covers a variety of topics including the history, the diversity, the culture, the music, the food, the art and the craft of Africa and Diaspora.



Heirloom Textiles | Joana Choumali's Resilients


My mother left for Ghana a few weeks ago. She packed up some of her traditional garments to give away to family and friends. I was upset about it because I wanted the opportunity to select a few items for myself. The likelihood that I would wear the outfits is slim, but they are items that I still desire to hold onto. Keepsakes of not only my mother the person but of her life--where she came from, her history and her experiences.

      Resilient, by Ivoirian Photographer Joana Choumali  Resilient, Joana Choumali  Resilient, Joana Choumali

Ivorian photographer Joana Choumali's 2013-2014 portrait series, Resilients, examines our connections between the past and present. The subjects, young African women, are dressed in traditional garments passed down or previously worn by their grandmothers or other female relatives. Choumali was inspired by her feelings of loss of family and with it her cultural heritage. Resilient helps other young Africans discover, reconnect and share their familial and cultural stories.

In a time where everything is digital, global and easily accessible, we lose sight of some of the important things that are not. Let's not take for granted these precious artifacts that tie us together and can be passed down to future generations.

      Resilient, Joana Choumali's portait series of African women dressed in familial traditional attire.  Resilient, Joana Choumali's series of African women in familial traditional attire.  Resilient, Joana Choumali's portrait series of African women in familial garments.

At Ode, our mission is to explore Africa and the Diaspora in accessible, relatable ways. We seek to discover and continue traditions and celebrate them in our modern lives. Whether it's by adhering strictly to traditions or using fresh, new ways, our stories and cultures have to be preserved.

In what ways do you stay connected to your family's history? Do you have clothing (traditional or contemporary), textiles, jewelry, or anything else from older relatives? Share your comments below.

Resilient, Joana Choumali's portrait series of African women dressed in familial traditional attire.


Check out more of Joana Choumali's powerful work.



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