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African Wall Mask - Proud Hausa Warrior
Proud and brave, a fighting man comes to life as an African mask. Abdul Aziz Mohamadu carves the piece from rubberwood and adorns the features with colorful seed beads, meticulously applied by hand. Polished brass inlay surrounds the head. The artisan names his original design Mayaka, which means 'warrior' in the Hausa language.
- Rubberwood, brass and recycled glass beads
- 0.72 kg
- 34 cm H x 17 cm W x 7 cm D
THE STORY BEHIND THE PRODUCT
Artisan Organization: Abdul Aziz Mohamadu
"I joined Novica in 2010. My sales at Novica have helped me in various ways. The education of my kids matters to me a lot, and my Novica sales have helped me pay for their school fees. I sell a lot on Novica--my sales are booming, really, so this has been very helpful. From these sales, I pay my rent, and also recently purchased land to build my own house.
"I dream of opening an art and craft institute to train youth, with the aim of reducing poverty. My children, ages two to ten, are all in school. I also help pay for several orphans, from the level of primary to senior high school. In recent times, one of my workers had an accident and I needed to support him through his treatment with the income I make through Novica.
"Before joining Novica, I was in crisis. But since joining Novica, my life has been very fruitful. Sixty percent of all my needs have been solved by Novica. Novica gives me peace of mind, supporting me through my sales and zero-interest microcredit loans when needed. Novica is a great institution. It has made me self-reliant and independent.
"In my community, I have gained increased respect. People now come to me with their worries -- about illnesses, unemployment, etc. I try to help as many of these people as possible, including employing some in my workshop. For decision-making as well, my advice is sought before decisions are taken. Novica has been very helpful to artisans at the grassroots level."
Original Artist Story
"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."