Seed of the Wawa Tree, 2014, digital photo paper, 20 x 20 inches

The Adinkra Project

David Zapparoli

A Space Windows

November 13, 2015 – January 20, 2016

 What inspired the development of this body of work was my admiration for the

simplicity and beauty of a set of West African iconography known as the

Adinkra symbols. They first appeared in 16th century Ghana and Cote

d’Ivoire on woven fabrics produced by using stamps dipped in ink from tree

bark. These symbols carry meanings that promote virtuous living and

identify basic human qualities; some come from human inventions, others

borrow directly from nature. Choosing to interpret Adinkra symbols also

acknowledges my biological father, whom I visited for the first time in Ghana

in 1999.



The Adinkra Project is my “push back” against consumer culture. To

physically reconnect to our natural environment we used the earth as a

canvas, and the participants are the ink by which these Adinkra symbols are

re-imagined. By connecting their bodies end-to-end, they perform an

interpretation of an Adinkra symbol, which I then photograph.

The majority of the participants in the photographs are people who answered

my ads posted on Craigslist and Kijiji, and several of them were passers by,

recruited for the composition. This work owes it beginnings to the help and

participation of family and friends, all of whom I thank and cherish.