|Smithsonian Nat'l Museum of African Art Director Dr. Johnnetta Cole and Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders @ February Black History launch of Sanders' book, "The Legendary Uli Women of Nigeria."|
The recent February 2015 Black History Month program at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art (NMAA) which was the official Washington, D.C. launch of Ambassador Robin Renee Sanders first book, "The Legendary Uli Women of Nigeria," included a "conversation segment," between the incredible, iconic NMAA Director Dr. Johnnetta Cole and Dr. Sanders on key elements of her Sanders book and also highlighted relevant aspects of the Museum's collection. The launch, a sold out event, emphasized the main message of Ambassador Sanders' Uli book which stresses the importance of preserving traditional non-written, non-oral cultural practices through the life stories of nine Nigerian women in the December phase of their lives who struggle to keep their beloved Uli practice alive, which is endanger of disappearing. The book was based on Dr. Sanders' doctoral dissertation which argued that non-text, no oral traditions are just as viable to the global community as written and oral traditions. Sanders calls Uli a "communications expression," and the Uli women "legendary" because they struggle to keep their traditions relevant in an uphill anti-Uli environment and still respect and cherish this matriarchal practice taught to them by their mothers, who in turn learned from their mothers. The launch event also included a video of clips from the villages and the Uli women talking about their beloved practice and showing Sanders how to prepare the practice from the Uli plant from which the Uli ink. The Uli practice, which dates back to the era of the Aro Kingdom, according to Sanders' research, was used in selected Igbo villages located west of the Nigerian river called "Cross River," and was used on the body during special ceremonies and on the homes of the royal chiefs of Igbo villages in the region. Click here to see the Sanders video on her Uli Book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?
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