About Us

Denkyem Ase is the creation of Natty Kool, a former reggae selector/dj from Washington DC. The brand draws inspiration from the divine majesty and power of African Art. From an independently Black-owned African Art gallery located in Baltimore, MD, Natty's mission is to teach and share African Art by curating and creating ancestral Afro-eclectic art|fashion collections that communicate, honor, teach, promote and preserve the majesty and power of African Art. Natty studied African Art at Yale University and was heavily influenced and inspired by Robert Farris Thompson (1932-2021). Thompson was professor emeritus of African American studies and the former Colonel John Trumbull Professor of the History of Art at Yale.

Robert Farris Thompson will always have the distinction of pioneering the study of African art as an academic field within the discipline of the history of art,” said Henry Louis Gates, the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard, who was among the many distinguished scholars who Thompson helped mold as future leaders during his career. “Before Bob earned his Ph.D. in Yale’s art history department, African art was generally regarded as being of anthropological interest, primarily. Bob’s work did more to institutionalize the study of Black art as art than any other scholar’s work before his. When I was a graduate student at the University of Cambridge in 1973, and asked my professor, Wole Soyinka, himself an expert on Yoruba culture and a member of the Yoruba ethnic group, for the best study of Yoruba art and mythology, to my amazement, he handed me a copy of Bob’s now classic work, ‘Black Gods and Kings!’

Thompson was the author of dozens of scholarly and popular articles, including a cover story for Rolling Stone. His many books and catalogs span from Black Gods and Kings in 1971 to Aesthetic of the Cool: Afro-Atlantic Art and Music in 2011, as well as a forthcoming life work, Mambo, which he called "the book that started every other one." His landmark book, Flash of the Spirit: African and Afro-American Art and Philosophy, has been in print continuously since it was published to acclaim in 1984.


Thank you for supporting the mission to teach and share the majesty and power of African Art.