Kwasi Asare, a master weaver of Kente cloth, mathematician and African sage, has develope a profound and appealing pedagogy in the workshops where he teaches his craft. Through his exhibitions and sharing the Kente weaving tradition, Kwasi also conveys a broader vision of African culture and what it has to offer the Western world. I have had the good fortune of being able to develop his web site, and in the process I was fascinated by how many people have been responding positively to his exhibitions and teaching. As I explored the symbolism and practice of Kente weaving, I developed a deep appreciation for this traditional art form as a creative and technical craft that embodies a timeless sense of wisdom and beauty.
Kwasi’s extraordinary journey as a weaver has taken him from his roots in the Ashanti region of Ghana to Europe and the United States – and even to the world’s greatest diplomatic body, the United Nations General Assembly in New York City. One of Kwasi’s most stunning works of art is a massive Kente cloth that he entitled, “Consensus has been Reached.” It was created as an artistic benediction for the efforts of world diplomats seeking solutions to complex problems, and to celebrate their work and aspirations. As a traditional weaver as well as a trained mathematician, Kwasi has always sought blend his art form with his wisdom and knowledge as an educator. He is very much an African oral tradition teacher, and his exhibitions, demonstrations and workshops are a remarkable cultural experience.
If you haven’t heard, Kente cloth is all the rage these days among hipsters and African Americans who are seeking a sense of heritage and connection to the African Motherland. Kente cloth is the most prized and distinguished fabric in Africa; it is distinctly recognizable, as it stands out from virtually any other kind of fabric on the planet. Kente cloth is valued by chiefs, government leaders and royalty for ceremonial and spiritual purposes; its complex weaving patterns and designs are imbued with symbolism and meaning. It is no wonder that Kente has become highly popular among African Americans and many people throughout the entire African Diaspora; Kente cloth evokes a powerful emotional response and is developing a new meaning and relevance for the myriad tapestries of African culture in this global age.
It is my hope that Kwasi Asare will develop new audiences and markets for his work, and that he will offer more of his exhibitions and workshops throughout the United States and the Western World in museums, universities, schools, community groups and arts centers. The artistic experience weaving and understanding the Kente tradition can be inspiring and fulfilling for many people. It potentially can be a spiritual marker or representation, a reflection of something deeper within one’s psyche.
“When students create Kente cloth, they visualize the symbolism and meaning they want to express in their fabric, which is something that can be very fulfilling, inspiring and illuminating.” – Kwasi Asare