"In 2000, I went into carving and since then I have never regretted it. But I haven't abandoned painting completely either."
"At a tender age, I used to draw pictures from magazines with a pencil. During my primary education, I painted with watercolors, to the admiration of my parents and their friends. This gave me confidence and inspired me to continue. I knew I'd be a painter in the future, as I realized that the flair for painting was in-born.
"When I was in senior high, I used to visit friends who were in college pursuing courses in painting. I'd practice with them using acrylics on canvas – I didn't find it difficult. In fact, I started to paint for people in my neighborhood upon request.
"When talking to people whose livelihood was painting and learning the challenges they encountered in selling a single canvas, it set me to thinking about whether to pursue this dream of becoming a painter. Perhaps I should turn to a different field altogether?
"When I completed senior high, I used to visit a man by name of Musa at his workshop. He was into carving masks and sculptures. I'd observe him with his workers and saw the joy with which they went about their work. At the time, I was deep in thought as to what would be next for me. My love for the art field was so strong.
"After careful observation of their carving over a period of time, one day I went to the workshop as usual, picked a log of wood and started carving out a mask as I had observed them doing. This surprised Musa and he was willing to help me perfect the skill. I developed a love for this new skill I'd acquired and decided to pursue it further.
"Because of my knowledge in painting, I was able to help Musa in creating very beautiful designs on the mask. In 2000, I went into carving and since then I have never regretted it. But I haven't abandoned painting completely either – I still paint for people upon request.
"I am now self employed and there are five assistants working with me. In addition, I have taught seven other people how to carve, and they are also on their own now and doing well. When I get large orders, I call on them for their assistance. I look forward to training more people in this craft and also to continuing with my paintings."
Abdul Aziz Mohamadu's work has been exhibited in Ghanaian venues as well as in Nigeria and Benin.
Salihu Ibrahim crafts an impressive mask in the tradition of Nigeria’s Hausa people. Known as Zuchiya ("Heart"), the mask is believed to bring good fortune to those who live in the household... Read More
Sculpted by hand of native African rubberwood, this face depicts a woman of youthful beauty. Long lashes frame demure eyes and applications of aluminum create intricate patterns on her cheeks and... Read More
By Abdul Aziz Mohamadu, this mask conveys a quiet joy. Its colorful contours are hand carved from seasoned African rubberwood and beautifully painted. Seed beads of recycled glass adorn the cheeks and... Read More
A serious expression belies the joy of an abundant harvest. Carved and painted by hand, this handsome mask comes from Abdul Aziz Mohamadu. "It is used by the Goroshie tribe in Nigeria during... Read More