The Museum of African Art in Savannah celebrates Kwanzaa with a series of workshops, a market
This month, the Savannah African Art Museum is hosting several workshops to celebrate Kwanzaa. This is the first time the museum has held Kwanzaa workshops, and Lisa Jackson, education coordinator for the museum, said it was a great opportunity to celebrate and learn about the holiday.
“Before all the workshops, we will first have an introduction on what Kwanzaa is, why we celebrate it, what symbols are depicted in candle lighting and its connection to Africa.”
Jackson said a lot of people think it’s a holiday that replaces Christmas, but it’s a cultural holiday.
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For those who don’t know how this celebration started, Jackson explained that it was started in the 1960s by a man named Maulana Karenga. He wanted to give members of the African diaspora in America a way to recognize and embrace their culture.
“He brought it together around an African celebration called First Harvest, which is celebrated across Africa.” First Harvest celebrates the re-entry of crops at the end of the season, but Jackson said it’s also a chance for people to come together and celebrate.
The workshop will take place on December 11 with a market hosted by The Diaspora Marketplace on Wednesday December 22 and an art sale on Thursday December 23, featuring Ghanaian-inspired works by William Kwamena – Poh.
The December 11 workshop will guide participants through the process of working with beads while sharing a brief history of African beads. The January 8 workshop will focus on creating an affirmation journal for the New Year and will be led by the Savannah African Art Museum‘s Executive Director and Chief Curator, Billie Stultz.
“We did it last year, in January, at the start of the new year,” Jackson said. “Kwanzaa also helps you make decisions and affirmations about how you are going to live your life. How will you conduct the rest of the year? It’s not just for the seven days of Kwanzaa. It’s for how you’re going to live your life, how you represent your community, how you work in your community, how you’re going to work with each other, how you embrace your family.
Since the holiday season is usually a time for sharing stories, it makes perfect sense that the workshop on December 18 focuses on the art of storytelling.
Kat Robertson, visual artist and performer, will lead the interactive workshop on the 7 principles of Kwanzaa represented by candles. Participants will create their own symbolic candles from construction paper and fabric.
“Storytelling is a major thing all over the world. All cultures have their storytelling,” Jackson said. “In African culture it is very important because it helps to share our history, to set goals and helps you to understand the past, to connect with the ancestors, to understand what the history was and to highlight in your current life.”
The Museum of African Art, Savannah is also partnering with The Diaspora Marketplace on Wednesday, December 22, from noon to 4 p.m., to offer authentic clothing, jewelry, and homewares from West and Central African countries. . Then on Thursday, December 23, there will be art for sale by William Kwamena – Poh. It will also be from noon to 4 p.m.
Since Kwanzaa is celebrated from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1, Jackson said these workshops provide a way to learn about the holiday and about African culture before the celebration.
The workshops are free, but anyone interested should register in advance. For more information, visit SavannahAfricanArtMuseum.org.
This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Celebrate Kwanzaa with workshops and a market at the Museum of African Art