Sunday, December 26, 2010

Belated Merry Christmas and Happy Kwanzaa

Greetings All,
I have been busy this week creating 25 garments (above) for the Kwanzaa Village Men of Action. They will be participating at Malcolm X College and along with the Shule Ya Watoto (School for Children) in conducting their 16th annual Kwanzaa Celebration from Dec 26, 2010 through January 1, 2010, focusing on "A Kwanzaa 2010 Tribute to Positive Youth Leadership". Kwanzaa, and especially their celebration, has grown immensely in popularity. Last year , over three thousand people came to the college to join in the festivities. This event is the only seven-day celebration held by a public institution in the country. It is warmly received.

Overview of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa, a celebration of the first fruits, was created by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966 as a cultural idea and an expression of the US Organization in California. Dr. Karenga was inspired by the harvest festivals found in the various parts of Africa and used symbols from various cultural groups to create a holiday that reflected the needs and experiences of Africans in America.

Today, Kwanzaa is celebrated by millions of people of African decent throughout the United States and the Diaspora. It is a non-heroic, non-religious, nonmilitary, apolitical celebration that reflects the history, struggle, triumphs and labors of African-Americans and Africans throughout the world.

Kwanzaa is celebrated from December 26th through January 1 1st and maintains at its core a value system, which should become the minimum moral standard for all Black families. This value system is called the "Nguzo Saba" (seven principles) and each day of Kwanzaa stands for one of the principles:

This value system is called the "Nguzo Saba" (seven principles) and each day of Kwanzaa stands for one of the principles:

Dec. 26th UMOJA UNITY - To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Dec. 27th KUJICHAGULIA SELF-DETERMINATION - To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Dec. 28th UJIMA COLLECTIVE WORK and RESPONSIBILITY - To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Dec. 29th UJAMAA COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS - To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Dec. 30th NIA PURPOSE - To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Dec. 31st KUUMBA CREATIVITY - To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Jan. 1st IMANI FAITH - To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Kwanzaa, like all holidays, has its symbols and rituals. Celebrations can take place in homes or at larger community gatherings. Coming together in unity is important because families, especially the children, can participate fully during Kwanzaa by discussing and practicing the principles of the day.

Above is The Piece of The Week another in the collaboration series that was created with the help of Felicia Grant Preston, Mary Scott Boria and Deborah Norwood who came to my house earlier this year for a play date. It will be a part of my exhibit next month at Concordia University. Thanks to my sister-friends for their collaboration.

Michele Hardman thank you for the fabrics I used some of your pieced fabrics to separate the painted cloth and I also used some other fabric that you gave me on the back. This is truly an effort of UNITY - UMOJA and thank you all again for being a parts of it and for being friends.

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