Sculpture in wood and ivory is one of the traditional arts of the Ivory Coast.?
Sculpture in wood and ivory is one of the traditional arts of the Ivory Coast. The woodcarvers of the Baoule people hand the craft down form one generation to the nest. In the past they worked for a small clientele in their towns and villages; now they supply the markets and curio stalls of Abidjan.
Martin Kwame lives and works in his own village near Ndouci, about 130 kilometres (81 miles) from Abidjan. One of his favourite subjects is the legend of Queen Pokou, the Baoule leader who led her people out of Ashanti. But he also produces religious sculpture for local churches, and other modern carving. Jean M'Bra works in Toumodi, 90 kilometres (56 miles) to north-west, He works in the African tradition of his father before him, producing stylised but beautiful figures of people and animals.
SYNOPSIS: Wood-carving is a traditional art of the Ivory Coast and there is a wood-carving shop in most towns and villages. This one is near Ndouci, 130 kilometres from Abidjan, and the sculptor is Martin Kwame. He's working on a relief depicting the legend of Queen Pokou who led the Baoule people out of Ashanti.
Kwame also produces religious carvings, like this statue of Saint Francis Xavier, for local churches, and of course the traditional figures of animals and people.
Jean M'Bra works in Toumodi, 90 kilometres from Ndouci. He keeps to the African traditions in stylised figures and ornaments.
Much of the wood-carving finds it sway to the curio shops and markets of Abidjan. In the past some of the carving was done in ivory. But this has been so expensive that the sculptors now work almost exclusively in wood, especially Cotibe, a hard re wood. But they also use Futumbya and Lasica, paler coloured woods which are more suitable for the little animal figures and ornaments which are the stock in trade of the souvenir shops.
Ivory Coast wood-carving helps the tourist industry and foreign exchange for the country, not only from the sale of the carvings but also as an inducement to the tourists to visit THE Ivory Coast.