ART

Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa

Warrior Series

This series is dedicated to the great Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa and evokes a sense of natural energy and power; meant to inspire you to summon the courage to fight for yourself and what you believe in.

JASMINE ANOKYE-Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa-2017.jpg

 

ARTIST STATEMENT:

Warrior

This series honors the most fearless African woman who ever lived, Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa. Born in 1840 in the Ashanti Empire (present day Ghana) into the royal family, she was the chosen Gatekeeper of the Golden Stool, a sacred dynastic symbol of the Ashanti Empire that is believed to store all the souls of the Ashanti tribe’s ancestors.

 Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa is beloved and most known for her role in confronting British colonialism. In 1900, British Governor Frederick Hodgson demanded the stool to present to Queen Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Yaa Asantewaa, appalled by this disrespectful request and disgusted with the lack of courage from the male leaders in her village called for the women to rise up!

“No white man could have dared to speak to chief of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you leaders this morning.  Is it true the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? If you men of Ashanti will not go forward, I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white man until the last of us falls in the battlefields.”

-- Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa

 

The Ashanti-British "War of the Golden Stool" was led by Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa with an army of 5,000.  She was a powerful strategic leader and fiercely nationalistic. Although she was captured and died in exile, her bravery stirred a kingdom-wide movement. Her actions gave people a new understanding on how to read feminism and forced the external world to pay attention to the role of African women in the fight for social justice.

 

Nana Yaa Asantewaa was a Warrior Queen! She believed the continued existence of her people was dependent on the sacred Golden Stool that holds lineage of Ashanti peoples together. And if she did not guard it with her life and allowed foreigners to capture it, it would have resulted in the end of her people, and the generations of Ashanti to come.

As an Ashanti woman myself, I know her courage and legacy of fierce leadership lives on through me. Her attitude of fighting injustice and holding on to her beliefs, values, customs, culture and world view teaches us that if you do not uphold your mores, but assimilate to those of others, you endorse your own demise.