Hand-carved wood art in West Africa
"Due to financial constraints I could not complete my senior high school education. I could not just sit at home, so I went to Master Musah to learn how to carve.""I am a humble, respectful and a sociable person. I am also a designer. I've loved drawing since I was a child. I also love playing soccer and I joined a local team in my neighborhood. I get my inspiration from God.
"I developed an interest in carving right from a tender age. Carving and designing was a business in the house where I grew up. I would sit and observe the way beautiful designs were carved out of wood. Sometimes I would pick up used sandpaper and try sandpapering left over pieces of wood as I had seen others do.
"I did not take carving as seriously as I did soccer. When I'd return from school I would rather go play soccer, but once in a while my attention would be drawn to a new piece of artwork and I would pause to watch closely the item and wonder how it had been crafted.
"Due to financial constraints I could not complete my senior high school education. I could not just sit at home, so I went to Master Musah to learn how to carve. He was willing to help me, realizing I was serious. He took me through the basics and also taught me how to design wood.
"I was more interested in designing than in carving. I think it had to do with my innate abilities. I would come out with beautiful designs, and now when I carve, the design just comes to mind and I translate it on the item.
"I worked with Master Musah for about five years. He considers me as a son and likewise I took him as a father. At a point in time I had to go and work on my own, and he freely gave his blessing. I am still in touch with him due to the relationship built during the time of training.
"I moved to start on my own at the Art Center in Accra. I also joined an NGO aimed at helping street children by learning a trade. I have taught several of these children how to carve. I was promoted to leader and to date we continue assisting children living on the streets. These children make a living out of the skills they learn, rather than walking the streets. It gives me joy to share my knowledge with other people.
"It is my dream to open a big workshop where I could train several people and also be able to craft larger quantities. I work with sese wood for my carved items."