The Nigerian Author of Americanah, Chimamanda Nigozi Adichie, has collaborated with fine jewelry brand, Foundrae to design a ‘Freedom of Expression’ medallion.
She reveals to Vanity Fair the meaning behind the medallion:
“I was thinking about what I wanted to remember of this time. We’re living in a time where I feel a sense of urgency because—and it’s not just America—I think the Western world is moving to the right. I sometimes wonder if this [is] what 1937 was like, where people in Europe felt this sense of a shift. The reason that I find it really troubling is that the idea of dehumanizing your fellow human beings has become almost acceptable and casual. The crossed arrows represent the idea of living passionately and living knowing that our time here is short and that we need to make the most of it. I feel that every morning, actually. Every time I look at the pendant I want to think about this urgency—and that one must live in a way that is meaningful.
“I grew up thinking of America as a place where certain things would never happen, politically. I no longer think that because all of the things that happened in Nigeria when I was growing up, which was a military dictatorship, are happening here. You can just sense it, there really isn’t the rule of law. You get the sense that institutions are not as strong and resilient as you thought, you even get the sense that the president can just bring in anybody from his family to become part of [the] government in a way that makes no sense. That’s classic in many African countries. I’m mourning an idea of America that I used to hold very close.”
She tells Vanity Fair that the retail proceeds from the medallion will go to PEN America, a nonprofit that promotes freedom. The medallion employs Foundrae’s signature lexicon of dainty symbols, and has the author’s name engraved on one side.