The Savannah Museum of African Art hosts a Kwanzaa Market throughout December | Culture | Savannah News, Events, Restaurants, Music

The Savannah Museum of African Art will host a Kwanzaa Marketplace every Friday in December. Now in its second year, the Kwanzaa Marketplace will feature artists and vendors selling artwork, jewelry and other goods that are either from Africa or inspired by African culture. Organizers say the market is a great opportunity to learn about Kwanzaa, shop for unique items and celebrate the cultural diversity of our community.

Museum Education Coordinator Lisa Jackson came up with the idea for the Kwanzaa Market from her own experience organizing similar events in the past.“I’m from Brooklyn, New York, and I

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I worked with many different groups that organize many of these cultural events. We did Kwanzaa events and had different artists and a market, so it was something I was used to doing. It was something I suggested we do last year, so we did it,” she explained.

Last year, the Kwanzaa Marketplace was held over two days, featuring only two vendors. This year, the museum team decided to expand the event and include more artists. Several of the featured artists and vendors participated in the museum’s June 11 celebration and are returning for the Kwanzaa Market. For Jackson, fostering relationships with artists and vendors is key.

The Savannah Museum of African Art hosts the Kwanzaa Market throughout December

Torreah Cookie-Washington

“We have a relationship with several of the artists here at the museum. Some are employees and one is an associate professor here,” she explained.

Most of the vendors are local to Savannah, making the Kwanzaa Marketplace a great place to discover local art. In addition to the market, guests will be able to tour the museum and make a connection between the items for sale and the artwork in the exhibit.

“We have over a thousand pieces of African art from West Africa and Central Africa. So people can come and make that direct connection,” Jackson said.

She encourages the community to come out and visit the market and learn about Kwanzaa, which is celebrated between December 26 and January 1.

The Savannah Museum of African Art hosts the Kwanzaa Market throughout December

“Kwanzaa is an African American holiday based on an African holiday called First Fruits. . . It is a time of harvest, gathering, bartering, and community celebration. It is a cultural celebration. . . People can come out and see what it’s all about and why we celebrate it. They will learn the various principles of Kwanzaa. It’s a good place for people to come and learn more,” she explained.

“It is extremely important to celebrate our cultural diversity because it helps us to know each other better and to learn about history and culture in order to respect and understand them. And in doing so, we hope to bring more harmony,” Jackson said.

In addition to the market, the Savannah Museum of African Art will host a special Kwanzaa workshop on Saturday, December 10. Participants will learn about the cultural holiday and its meaning, and also create their own Kwanzaa banner. The workshop is the latest in the museum’s African Symbols: Past and Present series, which educates the public about African symbols.

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The Savannah Museum of African Art hosts the Kwanzaa Market throughout December

“With so much excitement about the two films coming out this fall, the Black Panther sequel and The Female King, while people are interested in Africa [we decided] to provide any information in this regard. . . We did different workshops based on some of the African symbols, some you might have seen in the two movies and some you might not know about,” Jackson began. “So Kwanzaa is the last in the series. . . There are symbols that are principles of Kwanzaa. There are certain symbols for each day for these principles. So this is the finale,” she continued.

Every Friday, the museum will host different vendors selling different goods. First up is local African import market Diaspora Marketplace, which will be offering home decor, clothing and jewelry on December 2. Next week on December 9, the Kwanzaa Marketplace will feature Viyanca, a fine artist and book illustrator selling prints and original works; Ari’s Handmade Jewelry, a mother-daughter duo offering handcrafted pieces; and Torreah ‘Cookie’ Washington, a master quilter and teacher originally from Morocco. Ghanaian born and fine artist William Kwamena-Poh will be the featured seller on December 16th with original paintings and prints available. The Kwanzaa Marketplace will conclude on December 23 with Savanna Naturals, which specializes in all-natural handmade body care products; Ingrid J Boutique, which sells handmade clothing and accessories; and Obi Nwosisi, a Nigerian-born visual artist with a variety of prints and original works available for purchase.

Both the workshop and the Kwanzaa Market are free and open to the public, but registration is required for the workshop.

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