Hand-carved African masks in West Africa
"When I start carving an item I have to concentrate and as I do that, I forget about all my sorrows, and so for a moment, I was able to get over the sad incidence."Update (July, 2019)
“Oh what a relief…oh what a joy. This has been my song for the past 7 years since I joined NOVICA. I must say it has been a blessing.
“In the beginning, the sourcing agents came for items from my shop. They helped list my products on the website, and that was how it started. I faced a number of challenges, but my major initial challenge was finances. Funds for producing new items were seriously hard to come by. As I started making sales with NOVICA, my situation changed. I now have the financial freedom to produce replenishment of my works and create new products. I have also expanded in scale.
“I can now boldly say that I have catered for my child, who has now completed secondary school and is about to enter the tertiary institution. I have 3 children, and they are all comfortable.
“I have my shop as well where I work comfortably and have trained five artisans to finish and carve. Before, I used to work along the roadside, which was extremely dangerous. Whenever I get a call that I have received a cheque, I get very happy. My goal is to work extremely hard to succeed in life. Thank you, NOVICA.”
Original Artisan Story
"I used to love drawing when I was young, and when I went to the high school, I pursued Arts. We used to craft dolls and other items from wood. I wanted to improve on my skills and so after school, I would visit some of the workshops in Aburi to observe carvers at work and also ask for their assistance with some of the items we were working on at school.
"Through my continuous visit to the workshop, I established some kind of relationship with master Samuel Okyere, a Novica featured artisan, and he was willing to train me. I apprenticed with him after school and on vacations. The master was very flexible, he allowed us to sell the works we made and that is how I was able to purchase my books and put myself through school.
"When I left high school, I expressed interest to work with him and he was willing to take me on. I worked with him for 15 years before going to work on my own. During the 15 years, I saved money to purchase the basic tools that I needed. A few months before I moved out to work on my own, I got a contract and my master assisted me to carve the items. This gave me the money to buy a plot of land on which I would put up my workshop.
"I started to bring my finished products to the Art Center to and it was through this process that I managed to save money to put up my workshop and finally leave my instructor's workshop. Now it's my turn to train others.
"The materials I use for my craft are sese wood, emulsion paint and aluminum and these materials can be purchased on the local market. The wood chippings are used as firewood for their domestic cooking by the people in the community who come over each day to collect them.
"A difficult moment in my life was when both my father and sister passed away in the same month. I had family members trying to console me, but what actually helped most was my art work. When I start carving an item I have to concentrate and as I do that, I forget about all my sorrows, and so for a moment, I was able to get over the sad incidence."
1 items by Prince Amartey
Obo-adaka HealerHandcrafted African Horror Mask