Parsons School of Design
BFA Communication Design
Thesis 2021

Michael Mungai
Ndome

Who gets to own history? Western colonialism resulted in the loss of a large part of the heritage of many cultures around the world through the “acquisition” of cultural artifacts. Today, many of these artifacts are housed in Western collections, and with ever increasing globalism, the ideas of ownership and provenance have come into question.
As a graphic designer and member of the Kikuyu tribe of Kenya, I wanted to explore this topic by focusing on one artifact in particular—the ndome—through which I can actualize some form of repatriation of these objects, and reclaim a lost part of Kikuyu cultural heritage. In this, I want to follow the tenants of Afrofuturism: to reevaluate the past and present of people of African descent, in order to reimagine our cultural heritage and re-imagine a new future which we have written.
The ndome is a ceremonial shield boys during their coming-of-age ceremony and features many intricate designs on both sides. It is a symbol of familial heritage, and is often passed down from generation to generation.

My project, Ndome, is an interface where users can create their own ndome using designs and patterns I have extracted from existing shields. The interface allows for many different variations of designs, through which Africans and people of African descent can create their own shields, and reclaim a part of their cultural heritage.

(Red)

Dotun Abeshinbioke

Darina Abuzarova

Sung Hyun (Julie) Ahn

Anisa Al Raisi

Hazal Aysel

Vivek Bajaj

Sunayana Bali

Elliot Bohlen

Madison Brang

Allison Bynum

Rachel Chang

Lilliana Checo

Jizheng Chen

Lena Chen

Mi Chen

Raghav Chhabra

Shreya Chittaranjan

Christopher Chu

Shenny Chuang

Calen Chung

Mae Craford

Chengcheng Cui

Rebecca D'Agostino

Dani de los Santos

Nika Diomidovskaia

Aira Dolfo

Maya Eapen

Yaron Erkin

Louis Falisse

Xiaoke Fei

Bernadette Figueroa

Shih-Ju Fu

Ana Furtado

Martina Gallo

Chenxi (Lisa) Gao

Sierra Glicker

Danielle Beatriz Go

Danni Gomez

QingYing (Mimi) Guan

Peiru Guo

Siyu Hang

Trudy Hoang

Will Howell

Annie Hua

Wallis Huang

Charis Huling

Sana Jamali

Aeva Karlsrud

Lake Kennedy

Byunghyun Kim

Destiny Kim

Yeji Kim

Zen Koo

Padmaja Kothari

McKayla Lankau

Hyunseung Maddie Lee

Jade Lee

Jiwoo Lee

Juna Lee

Victoria Lee

Emma Lepore

Scarlet Li

Sunny Li

Sohyunn Lim

Misty Lin

Stephanie Lin

Yu Tong Tiffany Ling

Lilian Liu

Phoebe Lo

Charlotte Lomas

Kevin Loumeau

Wen Hsin Lu

Dirm Luawo

Peiyun Luo

Youran Mao

Imani McIntosh

Rebecca Mesonjnik

Velimar Molina

Matilde Sofia Monti

Gavin Mullally

Syalsabila Karissa Munaf

Michael Mungai

Sanjana Navar

Katelyn Paik

Aileen Pan

Chanjoo Tiffany Park

Namjoon Park

Storey Pearson

Mariel Quadrino

Simran Rao

Felitasari (Tata) Rekso

Yasmin Rozmee

Rainier Salas

Julia Sams

Eva Serrano Reisner

Anvita Shah

Suditi Shah

Amal Shaheedi

Joyce Shi

Samantha Simotas

Claira Smith

Hyunji Song

Carolina Stierli de Abreu

Niharika Sundarigari

Rachael Tomaszewski

Tiffany Tong

Svasti Ujagar

Ariana Ushiki

Diana Victoreen

Yiqi Wang

Yutong Wang

Zheng Wang

Jasmine Wei

Savannah West

Summer Wojtas

Jacquelyn Wu

Ricky Xie

Connie Xu

Karrie Xu

Ellen Yang

Jacqueline Yang

Emily Yun

Monique Zeitouny Dayan

Cecilia Zhang

Cheryl Zhang

Claire Zhang