sankofa bird

The Sankofa Bird is about learning from the past

Today I wanted to show a new mini drawing that I recently completed called Sankofa Bird: Move Forward With Your Vision

I normally work so very slow, making complex images with lots of detail that can take weeks depending on the size.

This new one however is what I call a “travel drawing.” At just 6 x 6 inches, my goal was to not fuss and just make something in a few sessions (1-3 days tops) while visiting Lake Malawi recently.

The Sankofa bird symbol comes from the Akan people of Ghana and depicts a mythical bird looking back to retrieve a precious egg before it can move forward.

The lesson is that we must take the most valuable lessons from the past and use them in order to best plan the future.

I felt drawn to this symbol, but seeing as I am in Southeast Africa and not West Africa, I thought I’d add a few Malawian touches. These include the chitenje pattern of the bird and the woven basket behind it.

If you’d like to read more about the Sankofa bird and see it more closely, you can do so on my gallery and shop site here.

Current Work in Progress

This week I have a new sacred geometry drawing I am working on. I’ve already attempted to tackle such heady concepts as world peace, a sustainable planet, food security for alleducation opportunities for every girl and boy, and even a  peaceful and unified South Africa! Yet somehow this new in-progress drawing is turning out to be even more aspirational than those!

As you can see, (*blushes*) it’s still in the awkward early stages, but this will be a meditation on setting and achieving goals.

It uses the ancient fruit of life symbol which is about creation. In the 13 circles and four corners will go humanity’s loftiest goals to date, the United Nation’s 17 sustainable development goals.

The first circle I started in the center is about clean, renewable energy.

sustainable development goals “fruit of life” sacred geometry drawing in progress…

I also started addressing gender equality, an end to hunger, education for all, clean water and sanitation, life underwater, life on land, and sustainable communities.

I love the simple and clean monochromatic icons of the official SDGs that the UN uses on all its communications. However, I am not following the order, color codes, or even choosing the same symbols exactly. I want these to be more “artsy” and beautiful and to not include any text (aside from a few decorative elements.)

I want my representations of the SDGs to evoke strong emotion and have a painterly, almost tarot card-like quality about them. They should look like someone made them with love, time, and effort, similar to an elaborate quilt. And yes, that means there may be slightly weird hand-made looking bits and the occasional mistaken “stitch”. It’s all good!

You can watch me working on it step-by-step on Instagram here.

That’s all for now. If you have any feedback, suggestions, or ideas for future drawings, please feel free to let me know in the comments below.



P.S. Psst. I have a new LIVE and interactive online course coming up in March!

WEB PRESENCE & SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING FOR CREATIVES is a new Mastrius online art course. Join me!

Kristen Palana online course

Learn how to make your website, social media, and mailing list harmonized and impactful. Understand how to create and run a digital presence so your “digital artist self” can always be working on your behalf—even while you’re sleeping or doing what you love in the studio!

Geared toward any artist—from beginner to advanced level. LIVE classes! Recordings made available if you can’t make it live or want to re-watch!

Online classes starting March 21, 2023

FOUR Tuesdays from 10am–12noon MST, every other week

Get YOUR SEAT and course info here.