the naima grace story
My parents were born in Freetown, Sierra Leone and raised in northern Lebanon in a village called Rahbe. They came to the United States as refugees in the late 1970's. Although I was born and raised in the United States I grew up connected with stories, languages, music, food, clothing, memories of our homeland and cultures through my family. This gave me a love and appreciation for learning, preserving and protecting cultural memory as a practice of healing in the present to consciously build loving and just futures.
Honoring my birth name Grace and its Arabic translation Naima, naima grace honors the liminal in identity, place and spaces I call home. In a postcolonial world where forgetting is a tactic of divide and conquer, I see sacred memory as a practice of honoring, healing and thriving. I hope the jewelry I create sparks this remembrance in anyone who wears them.
naima grace was birthed after my studio album release during quarantine 2020. Led to metalsmithing through music, creative inquiry and intuition, I found joy and healing through this ancient practice of transforming raw materials into wearable art. My designs are organic and constantly evolving.
Because music and metalsmithing are very much connected in my brain, learn more about me and my work as a musician here :)
In all my work I weave together my practice and background in restorative and transformative justice, postcolonial anthropology, art and grassroots organizing. I seek to create handmade jewelry that not only is wearable art adornment, but commits to a business model that reflects my values by giving a portion of profits to causes that support indigenous land rights/racial & economic justice.
I also pay annual Shuumi, a land lax to support land rematriation to the Chochenyo speaking peoples of the Ohlone, where I live. Also known as Oakland, California.
Each piece is akin to a fingerprint, handmade by me from start to finish. You'll find imperfections and uniquenesses I hope you find add to the beauty of the art. Most of my designs are made-to-order with care and intention of creating each piece just for you.
To me remembrance is a practice of re-membering what we already know, what the Most High has already done for us; a reminder of the lands and cultures we come from, and what we already have within us.
With this, may my handmade jewelry be reminders of grace, of how cherished you are and remind you of the artful uniqueness that you are created to be.
Grace aka Naima
(photo above by Jaade Wills)