Textiles, more than any other art form in Africa, represent a means of declaring status and/or exercising power. The term Kente has become a generic term used to describe the narrow silk banded cloth of the Asante (Ghana) and Ewe (Togo) peoples in particular. The production, use, and distribution of Kente textiles is one of the most prestigious symbols of leadership at the Asante (Ashanti) court in Kumasi, Ghana. Like the traditional ones, Estelle Yomeda's Kente are notable for their intricate weft inlay patterns covering the entire fabric. These were reserved for gods, kings and queens (Asantehene - king among the Asante) and royal families. The name of the overall pattern is derived from the warp band, but the artist calls it porcupines. This is in keeping with the tradition of naming each kente cloth after animals or rulers, proverbs, or particular historical events.
Kente fabrics are part of the traditional West African textiles that punctuated the life of the people before the introduction of the 19th century Indonesian batik (which became wax in Africa) by the Dutch after its commercial failure in Indonesia. According to some Asante families, Kente is the translation of 'No matter what happens to it, it will not break'.
Today, Kente are symbols of independence, strength, dynamism but also of memory and loss. They echo the meaning given to Yomeda's Kente, which are evocations of her personal paternal memory.