The embroidered symbols featured in this block, made by Justin Laku, reflect various aspects of Sudanese life. In Khartoum, the capital city, the White Nile and the Blue Nile join together to become the great Nile River. The river, symbolized on the block by a boat upon water, is the main source of the nation’s irrigation as well as its lifeline. It connects not only the north and south regions of Sudan, but also links it to other African countries. The right oval depicts a dwelling commonly found in parts of the country. This kind of hut, round with a conical roof, is constructed from mud and grass.
A palm tree, the only variety to survive the dry Sahara environment, fills the bottom section, while cowrie shells, believed by some to be a means of predicting the future and used by others for jewelry and fashion, embellish the centre. On either side of the shells are pieces of copper bracelet. This type of bracelet, worn as a sign of adulthood, represents Sudan’s rich mineral resources. Elaborate gold stitching frames the inner design in a pattern typically embroidered on men’s clothing. A piece of Justin’s, which was created in the popular art-form of tie-dye, was used for the background.