"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.
Perched atop a rectangular mask, a long beaked bird peers curiously at the bright motifs. The geometric designs are heraldic symbols that refer to the agricultural season, while the bird augurs peace and prosperity. Victor Yao Delanyo transforms African....read more
Mamma duck is followed closely by her ducklings in a mask designed to honor good mothers, or obaatanpa in the Twi dialect of the Akan people. Abdul Salami Amadu carves the sese wood mask by hand, embellishes it with clay textures and paints it....read more
A sparrow and a gun are symbols of Kpengla, a king from Dahomey in Benin. Kpengla was able to free Dahomey from the Oyo Empire. The images appear on the forehead of this handcrafted African mask by Abdul Salami Amadu.
Garuda is a mythical, gigantic eagle-like bird. On a level comparable to that of the gods and their infinite might, Garuda was designated Lord Vishnu's vehicle for traveling between heaven and earth. Carved by hand from acacia wood, this splendid mask....read more
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