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Author: admin | Category: Fish Tattoo | 27.07.2015

African tattoo designs are based on ancient African customs and symbols, which is why there's no dearth of options. These days, the practice of getting tattoos is more of a fashion statement than anything else. Also, some of the tattoos were considered to be protective measures against harmful spirits and apparitions. The first evidence of these designs that has been discovered leads us to the mummies of ancient Egypt.
Women too had tattoos that signified fertility and rejuvenation in the lives of these women.
Some designs were also meant to distinguish warriors from other men, and the most commonly seen tattoos signifying this were those of Neith, a Goddess who supposedly led men into battle.
If you are planning to get an African tattoo inked, all you need to do is surf the Internet.
If you are opting for tattoos that are pertinent to, or are derived from certain cultures, then you should learn about the meaning of the design, rather than blindly getting the design inked, just because it looks good. Adinkra SymbolsA Philosophical Writing SystemAfrican symbols known as adinkra are ubiquitous in Ghana, a beautiful West African country on the Atlantic, situated between Cote d'Ivoire and Togo. I have that book by Saki, it's good.If you are interested in Afrikan writing systems, check it out! Click here to remove banner ads from this forum.This Forum Is Hosted For FREE By ProBoardsGet Your Own Free Forum!
However, in olden times, the art of tattooing was employed for distinguishing between members of different tribes. In the era before Christ, especially in Egypt, tattoos were an important part of the culture and traditions. These mummies were regularly inked with tattoos as a symbol of their family's history, or to signify the achievements of that person in his life.
Male bodies with tattoos were discovered in Libya, and the designs signified worship and offerings to various deities, especially the Sun. On cloth and walls, in pottery and logos, these Asante tribe symbols can be found everywhere. There are 55 defined characters, but there are more characters being used than those defined. As an individual who mediates between art and design, I am careful not to shoot myself in the foot here.
There's no dearth of designs, and you can get a beautiful design inked on your body to look fashionable. Some designs were also believed to offer protection to the mummified person in the afterlife. Even people who have absolutely nothing to do with African heritage and civilization can get these designs inked.
One such issue is the vagary of snobbery that implies the rights to a ‘correct aesthetic’ is maintained by elitist art-school practices. Also, the objective of getting such a tattoo would express one's desire to respect the heritage and history. The oldest tattoo was found on the body of Amunet, who was a priestess of the Goddess Hathor from 2160 to 1994 BC.

This method was popular amongst extremely dark-skinned African tribes, who used this ornamentation method to conceal the original color of their skin. Some of these designs look similar to common tribal tattoos, whereas some are depictions of deity worship. A stench occassionaly emitted when graphic design becomes ‘Graphic Design’: a term, notion and construct. Even within a tribe, each hierarchical strata was easily recognizable by the tattoos that were inked on their bodies.
The most common designs were parallel lines and intrinsic elliptical patterns on the arms, legs, and the navel. The method involved cutting the skin open, and rubbing some ash on the wound so as to leave a permanently raised and designed pattern on the body.
Terms and definitions are important, as they have the potential to establish parameters of intelligibility by liberating relationships. Even if you are unable to determine the accurate meanings of these symbols, you can ascribe a meaning yourself. The Greeks converted the Semitic script into what was to become the 'English script' of the western world. Where the relationship between the discipline of graphic design (by discipline I mean explicatory statements, abiding principles and methods of analysis including education as opposed to practice) and Africa appears to have little or no public harvest, overwhelming evidence such as my father’s ‘vault collection’ of TDK tapes and 12” vinyls belonging to an array of soukous and highlife artists and my mothers archive of Ovation Magazine — not forgetting the printed matter that’s produced and circulated in the continent’s metropolis, is hard to ignore. After all, it is your perspective, or your motivation behind getting that symbol inked that matters the most. Arabic and Hebrew retained the basic format of the Semitic script, employing vowel characters and not letters.
Celebrated designers such as Durban based Garth Walker have done well to also dispel this inaudibleness. It is rather interesting to note that no alphabet is known to have ever been formed by Europeans. So quietly, I went looking for a perfect level of pandemonium.I was introduced to Saki Mafundikwa, a Typographer. We are very familiar with the African Egyptian hieroglyphic script and the African Ethiopian Geez script, which date as old as 3000 BC and 500 BC years respectively. Typography being that branch of graphic design concerned with how text appears in a given space (in its inception this space had always denoted the physical page: books, posters, newspapers and has now opened up to include vistas such as the screen).
However forgotten by no coincidence are many other ancient African scripts that are unique and expressive in their own ways. Emil Ruder, the Swiss typographer, stated that typography as a technology “has one plain duty before it and that is to convey information in writing”.We can consider writing as a structure which has capabilities to support, prop up and make permanent. It appears that one of the main reasons why these great African script were lost in the sands of Historical time, is the direct mechanism of the colonial operation. Colonialism was internationally justified on a premise that the African was less than a human, this stamped by the infamous 1865 'Code Noir'. I believe it has become and continues to be both an agency and catalyst for memory, presentation, propaganda and growth. Engendering and making provision for identity, allowing the storage of vast amounts of information to be retrieved at will whilst bringing together disparate groups. Just that question alone has my mind wondering about the many encounters I have with writing on a daily basis.If I am not writing I am reading, if I am not reading then I am writing.

I am not referring to those instances where we pen a piece of text and you read over it, although still valid.
I am pushing a symbiotic notion that when you write you are also reading, likewise in reverse. Although dependant of one another and occurring simultaneously, neither one is a passive pursuit. In the sense that to write is to articulate; give form to thoughts, conversations and dreams.
Therefore before you can physically write you need to read within you, an activity that varies in time from person to person.
Each ‘performance’ of reading alters, whilst recording and writing a new or extended history.What precedes typography, and by all means becomes its support structure, is writing.
To critically engage with typography one would first have to begin the process of mapping writing onto speech. Yet the information age’s incessant use of web 2.0 technologies, having had a big impact on the way we communicate, has called for the creation of new web based fonts of many scripts. This has caused the Roman Alphabet used to write English and many other national languages to be in hot pursuit by Chinese and Arabic scripts in the digital realm. Attempts to meet the demands of access to information and new fonts are truncating parochial alliances virtual and real.
These non western groups are now utilising communication in all its form to ‘resume historical trajectories independent of the West’.On a smaller scale, but no less as powerful, other challenges to the Roman script are happening elsewhere.
In 2003, the ancient Berber script used to write Tifinagh, the language of the Tuareg, the chief inhabitants of the Saharan desert, now found in Algeria, Libya, Niger, Mali and neighbouring countries, was adopted over both Roman and Arabic alphabets by the administrative Council of the Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture to teach Amazigh in Morocco. Likewise the N’ko script used to write the Bambara language, spoken by people in Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea, Mali and Senegal has been modified into an app for easy tweeting.The last two are scripts indigenous to Africa.
Unfortunately that cannot be said about the majority of other scripts that were developed and used throughout the continent. There are infact many and they have a rich cultural and artistic history but as Saki puts it their story is little known and in some cases eliminated.The Adrinka Symbols of the Akan people of Ghana. Adrinka means” goodbye” in the Akan languageBorn and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, Saki completed an MFA at Yale School of Art in 1984.
He has since gone on to found Zimbabwe Institute of Vigital Art (ZIVA), Zimbabwe’s only school dedicated to design and new media. Studying design under the tutelage of Paul Rand a seed was sown to look into African writing systems, and that he did. Twenty years later Afrikan Alphabets: The Story of Writing in Afrika presents a collated introduction into the history and development of more than twenty alphabets.
Leading us through pictograms, mnemonic devices and syllabaries Saki charts how writing has and continues to evolve across Africa.Aware that some of the systems documented do not satisfy the criteria to exist as an alphabet, he has nonetheless proceeded to call them as such. Contending for the place of pictograms, tally stick marking and scarification to be seen as forerunners of writing in Africa. Asserting the significant role that symbols have in African culture as forms of communication, citing calabash carvings of the Kikuyu of Kenya, the Ishango bone from Congo and the knotted strings of Nigerian Aroko as recordings of oral information.

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