AFIA NSON BONSU
"I see art as any vehicle that dynamically captures and transmits aspects of the human need and experience. Art is what we build, produce, write, interpret/act, play, sing, recite, dance, and create from our relationships to each other and to the world and environment around us. Everyone who successfully provides a vehicle for the transmission of tangible energy is an artist of some kind. I feel strongly that the organic responses we have, culturally, are to be made manifest in the various expressions of our individual and collective art forms... whatever they may be. It behooves us to develop and to use our individual skills and talents to document our birthrights, celebrate our cultural realities, and firmly assert cultural and political statements through art. Our manifest visions are for the purpose of creating, giving, of sharing ourselves and protecting the integrity and psychological health of humanity.
I have never liked calling myself an artist, concerned to avoid the excuses often made for distancing oneself from the brilliance found in everyone and excusing behaviors that may be aloof or irresponsible in some way. I am, however, ever evolving and discovering my own growth and emergence through the pieces that successfully go from vision to visual. My preference is to allow a guest in my mind to come to a conclusion I have made about a human or spirit value while discovering, exploring and traveling their own subconscious. If you feel something I feel, and then feel something else, I've done what was intended. I love things of beauty, of healing, of strength and tenacity, of inspiration and affirmation. My goal is to document and create with definition and simultaneous fluidity. My effort is to imprint these human qualities with inedible imagery on the human mind and spirit. "
For Afia, art had always been somewhat of a family tradition and the driving force for every venture in her personal and professional life. Afia Nson Bonsu was born 1956 in Trenton, New Jersey. She relocated to the District of Columbia to transfer to Howard University from Mercer County College Fine Arts program after a 2-year hiatus. She created for academia, she created as an outlet, and she created as a means of income; selling jewelry and crafts at various festivals and art events. A mother of 2 sons, and a full time student, her determination, hard work, dedication and vision were recognized with a spot on the dean’s list. In 1978 upon arriving in the District, Afia began dancing with Wose' Dance Company under the direction of Aiedoo Holmes followed by Memory of African Dance Company under the direction of Djimo Kouyate until 2005. She also performed briefly with Nation Liberation Arts Ensemble.
Over the course of 30 years Afia Nson Bonsu has painted backdrops, constructed dance costumes, created approximately 150 pieces of wearable art, produced graphic tee designs for organizations and individuals, illustrated album covers, book covers and four children's books. She taught, created lesson plans, and directed pre-school through high school from 1978 through 2010. In 1993 Afia produced a poster art coloring collection called 'Nationkolors'. She has produced artwork, textile and dance instruction for a youth summer program from 1979-1998.
She served as an art, step and dance instructor for elementary students in the Washington DC metropolitan area from 1998- 2006. She is the official creator of the dance/step team 'Taratibu', founded in 1979; a program that has served the community, and contributed greatly to the art of step along the east coast. She has conducted professional development sessions for educators, sewing workshops, and even life coaching sessions. In addition to her many partnerships with various organizations and her amazing work as a private seamstress, Afia also serves as assistant costume designer for select Caribbean carnival bands in Antigua, constructing wearable masks and headpieces. Afia has devoted every aspect of her life to her children. Though she has birthed 4, she has and continues to raise, inspire and influence children across communities. “Now that [her] children are grown”, Ms. Bonsu is actively reestablishing her art career. She currently manages and facilitates an acclaimed homeschool academy for infants and toddlers using art to produce original learning supplies. Her company, Rhythm-N-Flow LLC, has been in operation since 2011and shall be releasing the long-awaited and highly requested curriculum to be accompanied by earning supplies inspired by her original artwork. Afia Nson Bonsu has committed her life to serving others through her talents and creations.