Africana Studies program will launch ‘Ananse,’ a graphic poster collective


Designed by Cianna Dalida

Dalida creates an image illustrating members of the AAPI community while expressing “Stop AAPI Hate.”

By Aileen Guzman, Contributor

Ananse Ntontan, or The Spider’s Web, is an Adinkra symbol of wisdom, creativity and the complexities of life. Ananse is a folklore character that became famous in parts of Africa and other countries within the Caribbean region. The people of South-Central Ghana (Asante) believe that Ananse represents wisdom and intelligence. Along with his spider form, his personality teaches moral, ethical and social values. 

“I chose the title Ananse because it’s an Adinkra symbol for wisdom, creativity, the complexities of life, and relates to sharing knowledge. Also, Ananse is a famous god in Akan mythology often depicted as a “trickster” god. He offers lessons about life in African fables,” said Meta Schettler, the director for Africana Studies. 

The graphic poster is inspired by Dudley Randall’s broadside of “Black Poets in the 1960s,” as well as the newspaper and artwork by Emory Douglas, which was done by the Black Panthers in the 1970s. 

Back in the 1970s, mainstream publishers wouldn’t give Black writers a wide platform, but with the help and advocacy of Douglas, Black writers were given a platform and wider audience. 

The Africana Studies program will be collecting the submissions in honor of Ananse to create a graphic poster publication. Students can contribute their work in the form of poems and creative nonfiction (150 words or less), art, drawings and photography. The deadline to submit your work will be open until March 31. 

Ananse is a way for students to connect and engage with others who are passionate about issues of racial and social justice. The publication does not have any limit or restrictions. Students are encouraged to submit works in various forms such as graphic art, social media, poems, flash fiction, op-ed art, drawings, photography or any other types of art. 

“Black resistance doesn’t have one definition. It can take many forms and means something different to everyone. To me, it is to rise above historical stereotypes and oppression that continues to follow many African Americans today and to work towards rebuilding new visions for a better future,” Adjoa Akins said, student leader for Africana Studies. 

This will be the Africana Studies program’s first publication with the hopes of continuing it until the fall. 

Cianna Dalida, a sophomore at Fresno State is one of the students who designed her art piece to be both personal to her and for the Ananse. 

“In deciding what kind of social justice poster I wanted to make, I thought about what issues are most prominent in the world, but I also wanted to choose something that felt more personale to who I am. As someone who who identifies with the Asian American and Pacific Islander group of cultures, I thought I’d design something pertaining to that.” 

Dalida’s artwork illustrates the appreciation and respect she has for her culture, in addition to shining a light on AAPI hate. 

“In the middle of all the stress and struggle to speak out against injustice I think it’s important to remember the beauty of what we fight for and let that keep us going,” Dalida said.