adoption kuba cloth (applique version) Stationery Cards
Our Stationery Cards feature designs from talented Artists - a major upgrade from the cheesy, generic stuff at the store. Send unique greetings, stock up on seasonal cards or just pick something funny and witty to brighten somebody’s day.
- Comes in a set of 3, European fold envelopes included
- Printed on bright white, smooth card stock
- Blank white inside
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About this artwork
A design featuring words related to adoption, done in the style of Kuba cloth.
Some of my friends here adopted two girls from Kinshasa, D.R. Congo this past summer. They needed to raise several thousand dollars to help cover adoption and travel costs, and they also wanted their church family to know about and be praying for the adoption (another adoption from a neighboring country had already been cancelled in the late stages due to suspected corruption in the orphanage.) They thought about selling T-shirts and asked me to make a design. My designs never became T-shirts, but instead have become wall art, posters, and quilt squares.
I wanted to make a design that had Congolese elements in it, and started researching the Congo. I discovered the Katanga cross - an early form of currency in the shape of a huge iron cross, used for dowry payments. I thought about these two little girls - hungry orphans wandering the streets of Kinshasha at age 2 and 3-1/2 - who were brought to the orphanage. They were in essence paid for and brought into a family like a bride would be - and the family's prayer that they would come to know Christ in their family made it a powerful symbol - they were redeemed, paid for by a cross - both Jesus' cross and the Katanga cross, both spiritually and materially. The cross shape became the central element in my design, with a heart at the center of it.
As I was working on T-shirt designs I noticed how many of the words I wanted to use had five letters in them - Congo, Adopt, Grace, Child, Loved.... I tried to fit them all together but couldn't find something to unify them. I started researching Congolese fabrics and I was really excited to find out about Kuba cloth. Making Kuba cloth is a whole-family project: the children collect the raffia, the men weave and dye the cloth, the women embroider and/or applique it. Each small square takes a month to make, and the designs are specific to each clan; each design tells a story. The more I read about it, the more it seemed like a fitting symbol for this family as they waited and invested a lot of thought and money and prayer into these two little girls - and waited some more - and as these two girls left their own clan, a clan known only to God - and joined a new family in the States. The family loved the Kuba cloth symbolism. We abandoned the T-shirt idea and I started sketching Kuba cloth designs.
As I was sketching I started worrying about not knowing the significance of the designs.... what do square spirals mean, or zig zags, or maze-like meanderings? Finally I realized that the specific meanings of the designs were as unknown to me as the girls' history. I would have to make something that had meaning for me, and I hoped for the adoptive family and the girls. I felt like I was treading on holy ground - it's very humbling to appropriate another culture's symbols. But I thought about the fact that God understood what the designs would mean even if I didn't, and I asked him to help me make the right sorts of spirals and squiggles. And then I decided to incorporate some of those words I'd been playing with earlier: Adopt, Grace, Congo...
We do hope the girls can retain some of their Congolese heritage, some links to their history. That was one of my prayers as I made these designs - that the designs would remind the girls that they have a home in the US as well as a heritage in the Congo; that they are loved and known and redeemed.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kuba_textiles http://cool.conservation-us.org/waac/wn/wn08/wn08-1/wn08-102.html http://www.google.com/search?q=kuba+cloth+history
All profits from the sale of these prints go towards Congolese adoptions.