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African Wall Mask - Songye Kwifibe
This replica mask of powerful beauty is known as kwifibe by the Songye people of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Distinguished by its black and white stripes, the mask is believed to embody supernatural forces that will ward off evil. To the Songye, the use of white on the mask symbolizes positive concepts such as purity and peace, the moon and light. Ghana's Christopher Nyasafo carves the wall mask by hand featuring a bird looking downward.
- Sese wood
- 1.76 kg
- 42.5 cm H x 26 cm W x 12.5 cm D
THE STORY BEHIND THE PRODUCT
Artisan Organization: Christopher Nyasafo
"The years I've been working with you have been my best years ever. I have seen a lot of marvelous changes in terms of my designing, finances and family life. Family-wise, I have been able to cater for my own children's education to the Tertiary level, as well as the education of other children.
"While enjoying success with you, I have also had some challenges, like trying to get land to plant my own trees for wood. It has been very difficult; the price of land is very expensive or it is not available at all. Now my focus is to target a place far away from Accra to purchase less expensive land. By acquiring the land, I can grow my own trees to obtain wood for carving; that’s a way of encouraging reforestation. I know with time I will be able to acquire land to start my tree planting efforts.
"What I have noticed is that, once you get diligent with a project, you will certainly grow. My sales have increased by 100% over the past year. Previously, I was working in Accra, but now I have expanded to the Eastern region. I only do finishing in Accra. I have four permanent carvers who collaborate with me, with one of them being physically challenged.
"It's overwhelming how you've changed my life for the better, to the extent that my children are graduating from the university."
Original Artisan Story
"My name is Christopher Nyasafo and I was born in Accra. I like to carve wood. Growing up in Accra, I developed a passion for carving. I learned from many teachers like Mr. Louis Botchway. I started by helping out with errands outside of the workshop. Gradually, I started to cut logs, then began sanding and finishing pieces. Over time, I learned to love this craft.
"I create sculptures, masks and musical instruments. I use sese wood, soot, cola nuts and acrylic paints. I am inspired by colors, the environment and other artists, and especially enjoy making people happy with my creations.
"I earned a business degree because I knew that I could get further with an education the more I pursued this art. It was very difficult and time-consuming starting out on my own. Finding information about where to get funds to start and sell my creations hasn’t been easy.
"I now teach six assistants in my workshop, and I hope to have more beginners who are willing to learn. I mastered this craft by being willing to learn from my instructors, working hard and being trustworthy. My craft has been a source of income to my assistants who are now taking care of their homes and children. Even the food vendors who come to sell to my workers take the remaining scraps of wood to use as firewood for those who can't afford to buy charcoal or gas.
"My hope is to establish a modern workshop outside of Accra to accommodate and train young people interested in woodcarving. My dream is to establish a farm which will be the main source of my materials.""