Daniel Abu Kenu
African masks and wood sculptures in West Africa
"My workshop is always busy… Local kids around come asking lots of questions and get to know more of our tradition. My dream is to,,, keep our tradition alive.""I'm Daniel Abu Kenu. I am a designer. I was born in the eastern region of Ghana in 1972, the fourth born of seven children. My friends say I am trustworthy, intelligent and humble.
"I came to Accra to play football and I was introduced into this craft by a friend named Akilu, who began teaching me how to paint. I found the entire art and craft tradition fascinating.
"At first, I worked as an apprentice for a year and a half. Then I started cleaning some of the carvings for them so I could make some money. Later I became the assistant to a shop owner. But just after I had learned how to paint and use colors, I was evicted from the shop because the owner said I was getting more clients. That was a huge disappointment.
"After that, another shop owner took me in as an assistant. I was always punctual at work and kept practicing. Sadly, the shop owner died, and the family then sold the shop to me since I was a good and humble artisan who had mastered the necessary skills.
"My inspirations come from reading and personal imaginations. I use materials like sese wood, ebony and tweneboa.
"Today, I am married with three children. I hope to educate them further and leave the choice to them if they decide to go into crafts. I'm also a member of a keep fit club in my community.
"My workshop is always busy and food vendors use this opportunity to sell in and around it. Local kids around come asking lots of questions and get to know more of our tradition. My dream is to bring more carvers and designers on board and keep our tradition alive."