With the demands of modern living, more and more adults are turning to adult colouring books to help them relax, but one company has just released a colouring book that stands out from the rest.

Sankofa Creative Co is the company behind the gorgeous Afro-centric adult colouring book AfroZen.

The book is designed by Merissa Hamilton, with the aim of keeping you chilled out and in a stress-free zone.

She said “I’ve used drawing and colouring as a way of relaxation/therapy for years, so when adult colouring books started to become more popular, I was keen to get my hands on one.

“I did, however, notice that there were colouring books available that covered nearly everything APART from things to do with black/African culture.”

The repetitive nature of colouring in is what therapists believe make it a great relaxation tool.  Having used drawing and colouring as her own therapy over the years, Merissa was encouraged by her family and friends to turn her artwork into colouring books.

“I decided after searching for African cultural colouring books and not being able to find any, I’d create my own!”

It is quite surprising that an African adult colouring book was not produced sooner, considering the amount of African influenced fashion that is around at the moment. You only have to walk into any shopping centre around the world and you will find tribal inspired prints on clothing and cowrie sells on all the latest “must-have” accessories.

Africa’s vibrant and diverse culture is finally beginning to get some recognition. This has undoubtedly been helped by the rise of Afrobeat music from the likes of D’Banj, Wiz Kid, Fuse ODG, 2Face Idibia, Stonebwoy, P-Square and many others.

These artists have brought the sound of Africa to the mainstream, but have also cleverly brought along African dance, style, fashion, tradition and art along to join in the party.

Some of the worlds most celebrated designers have also taken inspiration from traditional African dress; Givenchy and Stella McCartney are just two of a long list of designers who have devoted collections to Africa.

Even at this year’s Grammy Awards, Compton Rapper Kendrick Lamar ended his powerful performance with a silhouette of Africa on the screen behind him.  With so much emphasis on African culture right now, it seems like the perfect time for the African-inspired adult colouring book AfroZen to take the world by storm.

AfroZen has a collection of beautifully drawn images based on African culture.  They range from ancient Khemetic to West African Adinkras, which have a variety of special meanings including strength, unity, peace and nature.

The name was chosen as the title based on the style of art work that Merissa produces, which is called “Zentangle”, and with the theme of the images being Afro-centric, AfroZen was born. AfroZen is made up of some of Merissa’s artwork that she has produced over the past year or so.

Merissa is passionate about art and was keen to ensure that all the details were just right.  “The time taken to do each piece varies, it took about a week to digitally edit all the original pieces in order to make them suitable for colouring in.”

She has a growing social media following and looking through her Instagram gallery, you get a real taste of authentic African art. Social media has played an important role in showcasing her artistic talents and getting it the attention in rightfully deserves.

The response to AfroZen has been impressive; Merissa has said that there is keen interest from people in the USA. “The response has been fantastic! I initially only printed a small amount of books, but they sold out within a week and a half, so I had to get more printed very quickly.

ADINKRA SYMBOLS-2

“I’ve been sending a lot of order to the USA, which has been really good.”

Ms Hamilton has over 12 years’ experience working as a designer in the textile and interior industry and she has big plans for Sankofa Creative Co.

She is currently in the process of publishing two more books that provide educational material which will be aimed at children and there are plans to get her books stocked in Europe and the USA.

For a long time Africa has been portrayed as a continent of endless poverty and disease; it is so refreshing to see the other side, which is usually forgotten.

Through music, fashion, film and of course art there is a new found interest in Africa.  Yet more importantly for people of African descent, we have been reminded that there is still so much to learn.

Africa is made up of so many countries, cultures, tribes and languages we can’t possibly learn about the entire continent through one song or looking at one collection of art; however products like AfroZen will help to spark the interest among a new generation to dig a little deeper and discover more about the endless beauty and extensive history of the Motherland.

Sankofa Creative Co also makes bespoke jewellery and artwork.

AfroZen is £9.00 and can be purchased at Diverse Gifts, Brixton or online via Etsy

(http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SankofaCreativeCo)

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