MansaWear is Ecstatic to Sell The Hand Book
What is The Hand Book? It is a collection of photographic stories from Ghana and the African Diaspora of hands working, playing and creating. With these stories, Susan invites young readers and cultural explorers to think about the beauty and power of our hands to express love and labor and to hold memory.
What was the inspiration for The Hand Book? The book was assembled between 2014-2015 while Susan was teaching and doing research at the University of Ghana. But before living in Ghana, she had a fascination with hands. Writing about her grandmother she says:
I recall the touch of my maternal grandmother’s skin, soft from washing dishes but not delicate. Her hands were in service everyday, feeding, repairing, cleaning, and holding her grandchildren. They were as nimble from sewing a finely-detailed wedding dress, as they were strong from kneading dough for her famous Parker House rolls. In my Mama’s hands was an autobiography of love, loss, labor.
Drawn to the texture, tone and movements of hands, Susan focused her lens on them instead of the more obvious image. And because Ghanaian culture places great value on interpersonal exchanges, Susan used these conversations to write the text for the photographs.
Why are the photographs black & white? By printing the photographs in black and white, greater focus is given to the subject matter. It also encourages viewers to challenge their expectations of Africa’s cliché “vibrant” imagery.
Who is The Hand Book for? As an artist and educator, Susan wanted to gather visual stories that convey African/African Diasporan culture and inspire reflection on the ties that bind us as human beings. The Hand Book is meant to spark discussion, writing and exploration. Families can read it together, teachers can use in their classrooms, and people curious about the world can learn something about Ghana and the African Diaspora.