Glen Lewis, educator and industrial designer, is displaying his signature jewelry designs based on the rich graphic imagery of West African Adinkra symbols at The Chicago Museum of Life and Science until Feb. 28.
Titled, “Designs for Life,” the exhibit serves as the centerpiece of the museum’s annual Black Creativity Program in celebration of Black History month, the exhibit focuses on African Americans working in industrial design and is intended to inspire young people, particularly from the African-American community, to pursue careers in Industrial Design.
The exhibit showcases unique and creative contributions African Americans have made in design of the products and systems we use everyday.
Glenn Lewis Studios, Cary, N.C., creates the signature jewelry collection using the culturally rich heritage of Adinkra symbols and iconography. The symbols are figurative and stylized geometric images that convey poetic messages, proverbs or aphorisms. Originating from the Akan people of Ghana, the more than 70 symbols add uplifting, motivating and character-building messages, keeping the African-American heritage alive through its continuation in these keepsakes.
Requests then came in for engagement rings and wedding bands. Glenn responded with the design and launch of the Bridal collection which includes not only Adinkra, but adds Egyptian symbols including the Ankh and Eye of Horus.
Currently a professor in the Department of Industrial Design at North Carolina State University, Lewis holds BFA and MFA degrees in Communication Arts, Sculpture, and a M.Pd. in Industrial Design with extensive study in digital technology. On sabbatical in Africa, Lewis consulted with Artisan Ghana (ATAG) and served as visiting lecturer at the Kwame University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Lewis continues his work with ATAG and a portion of all profits from Glen Lewis Studio jewelry is returned to ATAG.