"Akofena, (Queen Nanny of The Maroons)" by Jay Percy
Acrylic on canvas board
Available as a print upon request, please enquire
The Adinkra symbol in the top left, translates as a “Sword of War” and represents courage, valor and heroism. Adinkra is an ancient system of symbols, which were hand-painted in various ritual clothing. The origin of Adinkra is associated with Ghana and Ivory Divoar. The crossed swords were a popular motif in the heraldic protection of many ancient Akan states. In the meaning of strength and courage the swords symbolized the prestige and integrity of the supreme power in the state.
Jay Percy chose this Adinkra symbol to pair with the spirit of Warrior Queen Nana Ni of The Maroons, less commonly known by her name Sarah Matilda Rowe. The Maroons in Jamaica were made up of (mostly Akan) Africans who escaped enslavement and fled to the mountains in order to establish their own autonomous tribes, much to the discontent of the British. Utilising the Animistic practice of Obeah, tribes lead in a network across the Island by Queen Nana Ni and her Brothers meant thousands of enslaved could escape to their freedom during the height of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Highly illegal of course, Jay invites the reminder that freedom was never handed over effortlessly through courts but fought for against all Eurocentric constructed ‘rules’.
As a fellow Obeahwoman, Queen Nanny’s spirituality serves as a key inspiration for Jay finding her own return to her Ancestor’s liberatory practice of Obeah.
If you would like to invite the protective spirit of Queen Nanny into your home, please ask about prints. The original piece remains in Jay Percy’s private collection.