VISIONARY MEDIA WRITER, GROWER OF FEASTS, AND MAKER OF FASHION is Akiba Kiiesmira. She developed her passion for growing food and her impetus for creating fashion from her gifted mother Charlene. Akiba Kiiesmira traces her lineage to the first black mothers that created the global matrilineal civilizations over seven thousand years ago according to the Mami Wata historical studies. In 1970, she took her first trips out of America to Cuba, Spain, and Mexico. Kiiesmira gained an interest in seeing deeply into the world and how we humans organize and develop our societies. Though she traveled to Niger, Africa, Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, Japan, in the physical, her main form of everyday travel is through visionary literature. Kiiesmira literarily traveled to 1980’s Vietnam with the writer Huong Duong. Her magical realism trip to Central America was with Garcia Marquez through his book, Of Love and Other Demons. Nature writing by Leslie Marmon Silko encourages her storytelling. Through awareness and time she now realizes that she has great stories to tell.
Currently Kiiesmira is working on a fashion pictorial of original designs and her experiences as an artist during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Creating her works in solitude she arrives at festivals and her shopping parties with “spring time energy” to enhance and share with children and adults who attend.
Voila or Wallah!, the artist salon and marketplace events, are a social gatherings to imagine and purchase her clothes, discuss life journeys and philosophy, and of course feasts from the garden. Kiiesmira contributes to the creative impulse of communities with her shopping parties, and support of community cultural activities.
Literature has had a profound impact on her life. A recent experience with A Time of Dreams by Ben Okri a novelist and poet who is her latest favorite author, inspired a vision so clear and perfect for building her African Marigold Project she initiated through her organization Nature Culture to grow love for Africa and mother nature. Okri contends that the heart of all the world’s continents and people is Africa, and until we love Africa and not appropriate her the whole world suffers. Everyday she may have a new favorite author because the world of literature is fascinating beyond words.
Kiiesmira flowered as the fashion designer to celebrities and powerful independent women during the 1990’s and 2000’s. She retreated to her inner ashram in the city of her birth San Francisco for five years where she practiced yoga, provided healing assistance to friends and created fashion art comfortably with her family. Reentering the fine art fashion marketplace in 2005, Kiiesmira recognized the esthetic and emotional value she delivers.
Kiiesmira, is a newlywed with two grown adventurous sons and five grandchildren (the oldest, Coltrane, is a wonderful writer). Deciding at sixty two years of age to finish a Bachelors degree in Communications, has generated more than even she imagined for the grand stage of her life. Philosophically Akiba Kiiesmira likes the idea of creating community within community, joining with her many elder girlfriends to create a village circle is in the works. The Village Circle, will take on subjects of interest particularly from the young readers within her blog.
Kiiesmira lived in Kyoto, Japan with her eldest son, Dr. Fanon Che Wilkins, Professor of Contemporary African Studies, for two springs and two summers. Soaking in the esthetic of “sleek graciousness” of Kyoto, she fell in love with the mystically floating Geishas, small farms, rice paddies on main streets, altars everywhere, temple markets and the quiet kindnesses. All three passions, writing, fashion and growing food seem to be the visas in Kiiesmira’s planetary passport.
Kiiesmira and her husband Karim are creating a rural leadership community, based on the principles of Nature Culture. A Nature Culture Community grows its own food, creates schools, industry, and art. The rural experience offers vast openness, fresher air, and the more natural wonders in everyday life. Kiiesmira’s sense of place is in the vastness.
Kiiesmira and Karim live in a urban development in Charlotte, North Carolina, grow their daily feast right outside the noisy screen door all year round, where there was once a lawn. Okra, lemon grass, bananas, chard and greens greet guests and wake them every morning needing attention.