Sarraounia Mpaka,

Art Kelen
Art Kelen
Feb 14 · 4 min read

Founder of the ethnic jewerly brand Adinkras Jewels

Could you introduce yourself? What is your background ?

Hellooo People !!! I am MPAKA Sarraounia, creator and designer of the ethnic jewelry brand Adinkras Jewels which was born in 2017. Senegalo-Gabonese, I am a big fan of everything related to the field of art (music, crafts , graphics, cinema etc …) and an unconditional lover of Africa. I arrived in Senegal a few years ago after obtaining my baccalaureate in Libreville, Gabon, to study interior design for 3 years in the School of Architecture.

How was your brand born? What does Adinkrasjewels mean?

Whenever I am asked this question, I can’t help but grin and think back to that moment before I answer, let me explain:

Having obtained my diploma in 2016, I joined an Architecture firm and it is a year after my integration that I have created this brand : one morning at my office, facing my computer, while I was looking for inspiration related to Africa for hotel rooms design projects.

Long minutes later, I discover the existence of an African alphabet, a book written and illustrated by the writer and graphic designer Saki Mafundikwa in which the subject is deepened. Thereafter, another discovery, that of the existence of particular symbols which not only have such a visually speaking power but on top of that, have a whole history linked to the royalty in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the Adinkras.

Each symbol corresponds to a unique expression that can be a proverb, a historical fact, an attitude or a human quality, of animal or vegetable origin. Many of these meanings reflect the state of mind or mood I wanted to be in all the time, from that moment on.

The idea of ​​being inspired by these symbols to create jewelry came to me as a kind of flash (if I can describe it this way) by having my eyes placed on some of them, I already knew how I wanted the future piece of jewelry and what I wanted it to look like in the end.

At the start, my intention was to test it and make some personal pieces and not a collection to sell. This is how since 2017 I find myself juggling my two new jobs.

Adinkras are African visual symbols that inspire me for my creations and Jewels simply “jewelry” in English, hence Adinkras Jewels.

Can you tell me about your creations?

The collection is essentially feminine, currently composed of rings, earrings, choker chains and arm bracelets. Today there are 18 pairs of different earrings and 8 rings to choose from, 4 sets of chains and 2 different arm bracelets.

Where does your inspiration come from?

The inspiration comes from the Adinkras which I fell madly in love with at first glance hahaha, mixed with my imagination.

How do you work?

I first start by redesigning the chosen symbol (depending on the mood) in pencil in my notebook or on computer with 3D software, before making mini mock-ups of prototypes using cardboard sheets, this process takes almost 2 to 3 weeks. Then comes the moment of conception with my craftsmen, during which discussions arise around the implementation of the piece. After that, a whole month is devoted to testing and comforting the jewel before being revealed through publications, photoshoots and stories on social networks to finally go on sale.

Which stage do you prefer in the realization?

I like almost all the stages, from the imagination to the design of the pieces by hand or on a computer, the workshop work with the craftsmen, the personal test of the pieces, talking with the customers, dealing with the deliverers, preparing the orders, packaging, creating visual content for the brand, interacting on social networks, inspiring. It is sincerely a real pleasure and with love to be able to take care of the whole process from A to Z.

What is your particularity, your singularity?

Adinkras Jewels has the particularity of raising awareness on African jewel in its best version but above all more refined, sometimes even “minimalist”. Inspired by tradition but much more modern. Let customers or future customers know what they are wearing, know the real meaning of the symbol or motif they have as well as the impact it could have in their lives or their way of thinking.

Where to get your creations?

The creations are available at the African concept store “L’art de Vivre” in Sacré-Coeur, via social media (Instagram, Facebook) and in a few days we’ll launch on the online platform “Afrikréa”.

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