Project Overview


The mural consists of the large letters “rise” and Adinkra symbolism. Akindra symbols were originally created by the Akan in Ghana, West Africa. The visual icons represent concepts or aphorisms. They are used widely in fabrics, pottery, logos and advertising or incorporated into walls and other architectural features. The students were working collectively under the guidance of artist Shea Colburn and their art teacher, Melissa Lorenz.

Akindra symbols are African and were originally created by the Akan in Ghana, West Africa.

Together, they developed the design during a series of classroom workshops. From left to right, the “rise” mural contains the Akindra symbol meaning “universe”, neighbored by the square design of “excellence / genuineness / authenticity”. The cloverleaf shape next to four silhouettes of figures signifies “God’s protection and presence”, followed by the heart-shaped “patience”. The kidney-shaped Akindra symbol translates as “unity”. A seeing eye floats above the lettering and imagery.


About the Artist

Shea Colburn

Shea Colburn is a Memphis-based artist and set/production designer working with a number of theater companies and events. He was a former display artist at Urban Outfitters and now a self-employed contractual artist and fabricator. Shea received his BFA in Painting/Drawing from Memphis College of Art.