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.
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.
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.