The 14th installment of this annual exhibition features pieces by 37 artists from 15 different states. These artists accepted the challenge to create a pictorial fiber work that illustrates the idea of Sankofa. Curated by the award-winning and nationally exhibiting textile artist, Torreah “Cookie” Washington, this unique opportunity offers African American fiber artist a showcase to exhibit their original and innovative designs executed in a variety of traditional and non-traditional fiber techniques. The SANKOFA exhibition is organized and presented by the City of North Charleston Cultural Arts Department as a component of the 2021 North Charleston Arts Fest.

For more information about African American Fiber Art Exhibition and the 2021 North Charleston Arts Fest, visit For details on other programs or events offered throughout the year, call (843) 740-5854 or visit

Curator’s Statement – Torreah “Cookie” Washington

This year’s theme is inspired by this quote from the enslaved prince Cinque: “I will call into the past, far back to the beginning of time, and beg the Ancestors to come and help me at the judgment. I will reach back and draw them into me. And they must come, for at this moment, I am the whole reason they have existed at all.”

The meaning of the Sankofa symbol is “reach back and get it” or “look to the past to understand the present.” I asked the artists to include a Sankofa symbol in their works. It is typically presented in one of two forms – one version shows a bird with its head turned backwards placing an egg onto its back, the other shows a heart with ornate endings. The Sankofa is one of the most recognized of the many Adinkra symbols.

Adinkra symbols were originally created by the King of the Bono people of Gyaaman, an Akan people of Ghana, during the early 1800’s. The King’s name was Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra and he created/designed these symbols and named them after himself ‘Adinkra’. Adinkra symbols express deeply symbolic proverbs related to life, death, wisdom, and human behavior.

Interestingly, research shows that these symbols made their way into the designs found on wrought iron gates and fences created by enslaved people from West Africa who worked as blacksmiths in Charleston, New Orleans, and other cities throughout the United States.

As you view the exhibit, see if you can spy the Adinkra symbol in each piece.


Participating Artists

Yvonne F. Anderson (Laurelton, NY)

Casandra Allen (New London, CT)

Linda Asbury (Stone Mountain, GA)

Carolyn Brackat (Conway, SC)

Lenora Brown (North Charleston, SC)

Donna Chambers (Irvington, NY)

Ora Clay (Oakland, CA)

Joyce Daniels (Stone Mountain, GA)

Valerie Deas (Bronx, New York, NY)

Jacqueline Dukes (Shaker Heights, OH)

Renee Fleuranges-Valdes (North Charleston, SC)

Gloria Gammage-Davis (Philadelphia, PA)

Edith Gross (Belle Chasse, LA)

Marilyn Hamilton Jackson (Springfield Gardens, NY)

Stephanie Hobson (Aurora, CO)

Janette Holland (Stafford, VA)

Jan Hollins (Rex, GA)

Cheryl Willis Hudson (East Orange, NJ)

Caseline Jenkins (Summerville, SC)

Terri Jenkins (Cayce, SC)

Patricia J. Kelly (Lemon Grove, CA)

Evelyn Oliver Knight (Waterbury, CT)

Catherine Lamkin (Charleston, SC)

Tomasita Louivere-Ligons (Austin, TX)

Aisha Lumumba (Atlanta, GA)

Linda F. Martin (Hartford, CT)

Nell Mays (Oakland, CA)

Veronica Mays (Portsmouth, PA)

Joyce Morrow Jones (Cleveland, OH)

Gwen Triay Samuels (Albuquerque, NW)

Carol Simmons (De Soto, TX)

Lillie Singleton (Walterboro, SC)

LaToya Thompson (Nesmith, SC)

Karen von Phul (Denver, CO)

Torreah “Cookie” Washington (Charleston, SC)

Tony Williams (Cleveland, OH)

Michelle Curney Willis (Stone Mountain, GA)

Katherine Wilson (District Heights, MD)