Jan 25, 2016
ABURI WOOD CARVERS
ABURI WOOD CARVERS
In Ghana, traditional wood carving has been an ancient industry. Wood, the main raw material, is available in almost every part of the country, especially in the rainforest areas of the Eastern, Ashanti and Western regions of Ghana . Perhaps this explains why wood carving is prominent in these areas. The Industry in the Akuapem Hills has provided employment for a large number of people in its various specialized areas such as wood supply, itinerant carving, polishing and sales, tools and equipment supply as well as the design and production of different forms of carved objects and articles such as stool regalia, drums, human figures, animal forms and entertainment objects.
In Ghana, the primary woods used in carving are Sese (Holarrhena wulfsbergii) and Tweneboa (Cordia millenii). The tweneboa is a sacred tree. Its name literally means "drum tree". It is relatively soft and easy to carve and sometimes already hollow, which makes it ideal for drum making. Most Kpanlogo drums are made from tweneboa. Other woods used include: Afromosia, Mahogonay, Odum “Iroko”, Cedrela and Sinuro.
The traditional wood carving industry in the Akuapem hills had and continues to play a vital role in the socio-economic development of the Akuapem ridge in particular and the country as a whole. However, the traditional wood carving industry in the Akuapem hills in particular and Ghana in general is bedeviled with problems such as unavailability of carving wood due to the depletion of the forest, which has necessitated a ban on the felling of trees by the Government. High cost of the few available wood makes it difficult for carvers to buy wood in the quantities they need for the smooth running of their businesses. There is also the issue of waste due to lack of education, technical know-how and wood carvers inability to adopt new designs, as well as techniques that make efficient use of wood to promote mass production to meet the growing demand for traditional wood carvings globally. Unfortunately, no attempt has been made to assess the industry on the Akuapem hills to unearth the strengths and weaknesses for interventions to be made for improvement in the general performance of the industry.
There are several carvers who specialize in masks, akuaba, murals, game boards, etc. One of the master carvers among the Aburi carvers is Robert Penrose.
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