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Kwanzaa (2022)

First Day of Issue Date: October 13, 2022

First Day of Issue Location: St. Louis, MO

About This Stamp

With this stamp design, the U.S. Postal Service continues its tradition of celebrating Kwanzaa. The annual Pan-African holiday, which takes place over seven days from December 26 to January 1, brings family, community, and culture together for many African Americans.

The stylized, graphic stamp design depicts two children, a girl and a boy, standing together with a kinara (candleholder) and the seven lit candles (mishumaa saba) in front of them. They are dressed in robes akin to spiritual garments. A light-blue circle behind the children’s heads represents wholeness and unifies the figures, and a mosaic motif frames the background.

Kwanzaa is a festive time for rejoicing in the prospect of health, prosperity, and good luck in the coming year. It is also a time for contemplation and recollection of past hardships, faced by both individuals and communities, and the ways in which history can inform and impact future happiness. 

Every year, millions of African Americans gather with friends and family throughout the week of Kwanzaa to honor the Pan-African holiday’s seven founding principles — Unity (Umoja), Self-Determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba), and Faith (Imani).

With origins in ancient and modern first-harvest festivities occurring across the African continent, Kwanzaa incorporates and reimagines many communal traditions as a contemporary celebration and reaffirmation of African American culture.

Art director Antonio Alcalá designed the stamp with original artwork by Erin Robinson.

The Kwanzaa stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp is always equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce price.

Stamp Art Director, Stamp Designer

Antonio Alcalá

Antonio Alcalá served on the Postmaster General’s Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee from 2010 until 2011, when he left to become an art director for the U.S. Postal Service's stamp development program.

He is founder and co-owner of Studio A, a design practice working with museums and arts institutions. His clients include: the National Gallery of Art, Library of Congress, National Portrait Gallery, National Museum of Women in the Arts, The Phillips Collection, and Smithsonian Institution. He also lectures at colleges including the Corcoran College of Art + Design, SVA, Pratt, and MICA.

In 2008, his work and contributions to the field of graphic design were recognized with his selection as an AIGA Fellow. He has judged international competitions for the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, AIGA, and Graphis. Alcalá also serves on the Smithsonian National Postal Museum and Poster House Museum’s advisory councils. His designs are represented in the AIGA Design Archives, the National Postal Museum, and the Library of Congress Permanent Collection of Graphic Design.

Alcalá graduated from Yale University with a BA in history and from the Yale School of Art with an MFA in graphic design. He lives with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia.

Stamp Artist

Erin K. Robinson

Erin K. Robinson grew up in Washington, D.C., and studied fashion design at Parsons School of Design in New York City.

After a stint making costumes for movies and television shows in Los Angeles, Robinson returned to New York to design children’s clothing for Gap and The Children’s Place. Though she still loves working in a variety of tangible media, she has transitioned away from fashion and into digital drawing. Robinson’s illustrations have appeared in The Washington PostEssenceThe New York TimesThe Boston GlobeThe New YorkerO, The Oprah Magazine, and other national publications.

She has also illustrated several children’s books, including Brave. Black. First.: 50+ African American Women Who Changed the World (2020), published in collaboration with the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and A History of Me (2022). 

Inspiration for Robinson’s art comes from the world around her. She is particularly drawn to nature, spirituality, and the magnificence of black culture. Her vibrant use of color and layers of texture give dimension and heart to her subjects. 

Robinson divides her time between New York and Washington, D.C. She is currently spending a year in Nairobi, Kenya, creating a body of personal work. Kwanzaa (2022) is her first project for the Postal Service.

First Day of Issue Ceremony

First Day of Issue Date: October 13, 2022
First Day of Issue Location: St. Louis, MO