Meet The Artisans
"I went to Inyagui primary school and Cheunje secondary school. I started carving when I was 12 years old, helping my father. Initially my father wanted me to pursue my school and university but I said to him, 'Once sculpting is in you, you can never get it out.' On completion of my school I started carving full time and made my first sales. I also started exporting pieces to South Africa through my father and eventually accompanied him there for four years until he tragically passed away. I had worked with my father making abstract pieces. I think and feel that I have my father's touch. My strength lies in my amazing ability to create these amazing family abstracts. I make what are known as abstract families or 'ukama.' The family is the source of my inspiration. I love to sculpt them as I believe they make up the root of society! They are our flesh and blood. Sisters, daughters, brothers, fathers and mothers look after us and care so much about us. They are soft and warm and loving. I hope and believe you will enjoy my pieces."
Taurai works with his two younger brothers, Tichaona and Elton. He is married to Constance and has one child, Emanuel.
JONATHAN WORLOBAH makes the crosses. He and his wife, Yassah grew up in Monrovia with their uncle and aunt respectively. They met at the Christian Revival Church on 12th Street. During the war they lived together on Fandell campus, the science college where people who ran from the war went for refuge. They survived on palm cabbages and the small fish they caught when fishing. Like everyone in Liberia, they each had family members killed in the war, including the uncle with whom Jonathan had lived. When the war was over, Jonathan started to work for a private security firm on the Lutheran compound. While working there, the director asked him if he could make a cross from an emptied shell. Since then, Jonathan has made many more crosses, enabling him to buy food for his family and send his children to school. Jonathan has gone back to school, too. Yassah works with the women at the church, and their children, Cathrine and Vivian, sing in the church's choir.
ESTHER MORAA AUKA is a widow and the mother of four children, three boys and one girl. She is employed by the Tabaka group in Kenya.
ROBINA BOSIBORI is a widow and the mother of seven children, five boys and two girls. She works in Tabaka, Kenya.
JANE MBERA KENYATTA is married and the mother of nine children, four boys and five girls. She is employed by the group in Tabaka, Kenya.
YUNUKE MORAA ONGONDI is married and the mother of eight children, two boys and six girls, who are dependent on her as the sole breadwinner in the family. She works in Tabaka, Kenya.
ANNA BONARERI is a widow and the mother of one girl. She is employed by the Tabaka group in Kenya.