Despite the financial challenges and unfavorable weather conditions that affect the wood, I enjoy my work… My dream is to one day have a big workshop and export my designs."
"Elijah Kwaku is my name. I was born in July of 1981 in the Central Region of Ghana. My friends say I'm good, creative and a straightforward person.
"I became interested in woodcarving when I realized so many kinds of things can be made in this way. I saw how creative it can be and this attracted me. I worked as an apprentice to a senior artisan for years. I had to work continuously and practice constantly to master this work.
"Afterward, starting on my own was difficult. I had to borrow money to buy some wood to start. But then I got an exporter to buy from me.
"I got a contract but I lost it when I didn't have the money for materials. Another time, I had to pay a worker of mine from some money I was expecting from a customer. The customer made only a partial payment, which wasn't enough to pay my helper so he decided to fight with me in the workshop. Luckily for me, a different customer came to the shop to buy at that moment, and I used that money to pay the worker. Still, it hasn't been easy.
"I work with sese wood, local clay, paints and beads. I especially enjoy finishing my carvings and African masks.
"So far, I have taught this art to ten people. Despite the financial challenges and unfavorable weather conditions that affect the wood, I enjoy my work.
"I get my inspirations from watching documentaries and from the environment.
"My dream is to one day have a big workshop and export my designs."