CategoryIdentity Design, key art
RoleLead DesignerCreative direction by Andrew Sloat
Celebrating dance across the African diaspora, DanceAfrica is a weekend long celebration featuring an outdoor bazaar, dance performances, community workshops, and more. For more than 40 years, this festival has served as a cultural centerpiece and is eagerly anticipated by the surrounding community. Each year, a dance company is selected to represent their country of origin and present a collection of traditional and modern dances in New York City. This year’s performance highlights Ghana and feautures the National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company, DanceAfrica Spirit Walkers, and the Arkestra Africa chorus.
DanceAfrica provides an artistic lens into the cultures and traditions that shape the African diaspora. This festival honors the past, celebrates the present, and looks to the future of the people it represents.
A system built around cultural symbols
Originating in Ghana, kente cloth is a woven textile composed of unique designs of varying complexity. Traditionally, master weavers would incorporate symbols and patterns that reperesented a message or name.
The Adinkra is a collection of hundreds of symbols that represent concepts and aphorisms.They are used extensively in textiles, art, pottery, etc.
The DanceAfrica 2023 identity uses these prominent cultural symbols as its foundation, referencing the bright colors and movement of kente cloth, and a series of patterns derived from the adinkra and the forms of dancers from the National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company.
“Except for God”
Symbolic of higher a power and one of the most popular and frequently appearing adinkra
“Go back and get it”
To use the lessons of our past to inform our future, symbolic of wisdom
“King of the Adinkra symbols”
Symbol of leadership, charisma, and authorityDancers from The National Theater of Ghana’s National Dance Company
The patterns developed for DanceAfrica were used across platforms and assets, and a unique pattern was designed for each program/event that took place during the festival.