Saturday, June 29, 2013

The Door of no Return

At Cape Coast Castle in Ghana, the 'Door of No Return' is often the last stop on the guided tour, where visitors watch in anticipation as the tour guide opens the door revealing  the sea where enslaved Ghanaians were led to waiting ships.There was no turning back when you went through the 'Door of no return'.

Cape Coast Castle is believed to  have been built as a trading Lodge which was subsequently enlarged until it became a fortification. The lodge was first occupied by the Dutch in 1637, and was captured by the Swedes later. Finally in1664 it was captured by the British who renamed it Cape Coast Castle.
This Castle served as the seat of  British administration in the Gold Coast until the administration moved to Accra in March of 1877.

Slaves were kept in the dungeons of Cape Coast Castle, while waiting to be transported to the new world as they called it, 1000 male slaves and 500 female slaves occupied the Castle at any giving time in separate dungeons, slaves were often locked up for 6 to 12 weeks, waiting for their turn to be shipped off to foreign lands. Conditions were not sanitary during this waiting period, urine and feces covered the floors of  the dungeons.

I chose this topic for my maiden blog because my maternal routes hail  from Cape Coast, and the story of slavery is very personal to me, some of my ancestors  were taken away on the slaves ships into the new world, and I will never know their names.

Today,  I look into most African American faces focusing on their features, and I ask myself, could they be from Cape Coast? or could they be part my family lineage? but the answer, I will never know.
In order to seek comfort for my self,  I have decided to start an art quilt piece called the  the 'Door of no Return.'

I believe that I will be atoned with the spirits of my ancestors  whose names I wish I could speak, and I know that this art work which I am so excited about, will re-awaken the ancestral spirit, and will serve as history even though taken away, still lives on.

I dreamed this piece in the works,  in shades of  red to honer  the lives that were lost during the slave voyages, and preserve through art, the  memory, for generations yet unborn.

Nature's Splendor. Now featured on 'The Quilt Show' June 2014!

Growing up in Ghana West Africa, we had lots of livestock that my dad loved to breed; there were chicken, duck, geese, pigs, sheep, goat, turkey, rabbit, guinea pig, and grass cutter. This made me develop a love for nature and animals, daddy also loved to cultivate the food for these creatures, so we always lived close to a stream or river where he would use the water to irrigate the farm.

There was so much land to wonder about on, and I would often sit by the river or stream and listen to the Cricket's and the Cicada bugs. They had a very distinct sound that centered me in my mind and kept me calm.

In such places I found a sense of calm where I could reflect. Today as an artist far away from my homeland, I come across similar places when I walk the outdoors, and the looks of these places take me back to the serene places I loved as a child and found calm, and sometimes I must create these sceneries.

Natures Splendor is an art piece that takes me back to my childhood days bringing great memories stitched in fabric.

Dimensions; 42 L 60W 
Original Work. 
Created March 2013 

Braid and Stitch is proud to announce that Nature's Splendor was part of the Collection; "A bit of sunshine – from an Artists Palette" at the LASells Stewart Center which holds the Guistina Gallery at the Oregon State University, the largest gallery in the Pacific Northwest.

There were six Wendy Mamattah works in that display making me very proud. They are Masai, Touch of Impressionism, Oh! What a Wonderful World, The Grove, Adowa, and Color of Aspen.


Original design -2013
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Braid and Stitch LLC