The Kenteverse is a multifaceted Art, Design & Music project exploring Kente’s innate power to create. I’m primarily using sounds sampled from the loom during the weaving process to generate new Kente designs and experiences.

When I started this project, I thought I was merely observing and dissecting the anatomy of Kente. I wasn’t aware of the fact that I was peering into a whole universe, The Kenteverse. Sound & Rhythm drove me here, and they’ve been my main points of contact in understanding the numerous locations within this universe. Language, History & Fashion are just some of the areas I’ve gained access to during my time here.

+ Videos
+ Beats

Notation System

Being in Ghana enormously fulfilled aspects of the KenteVerse I was not even avidly thinking about. I explored perspectives like language within Kente in the shorts I directed and shot ‘Dame-Dame’ and ‘Ɛse Ne Tɛkerɛma.’ This also gave way to seeing Kente as a fine fabric for life. Because within it is so many jam-packed pieces of information about who I am and where I can go.

As I frequently interacted with the weavers, I got glimpses into how specific designs generated from the sound of weaving tally with designs that have already existed. Could the information not as visible as the final designs hold valuable codes to life in general?

These questions have further led me to musical forms like jazz that share heavy visual relations with Kente. Even looking at the "Time Unit Box Notation System" (developed by Koetting and Harland to represent African music visually) and kente cloth, Kente and Jazz's relationship is so clear just by looking at that. Paul Austerlitz, the author of Jazz Consciousness: Music, Race, and Humanity, concludes that kente notation reveals "visual equivalents of Afro-diasporic music...because its colors synesthetically correlate with sonority to underscore the melodic color of rhythm".

From the point of notation systems, I have further explored other forms of notation, studies, and investigations. One such study I have delved into is the study of chromosomes and what they look like under a light microscope –– Karyotyping. Karyotypes, to me, further validate my thoughts of Kente as being a fabric for life. Karyotypes bear a striking resemblance to Kente strips. From the colors, they possess to the different ways they are presented. Kente, as a whole, speaks to life, directs and educates as well. They represent specific characteristics of different cultures, just like chromosomes are to humans. Karyotypes' rhythmic nature heavily alludes to Kente, and this cannot be ignored.

Is there more hidden in Kente, yet to be uncovered?

Do these networks of connections build a powerful visual narrative to see the weaver as a cultural anatomist?
March 08 2021