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Heart Secrets Ornate Multicolor African Mask

Heart Secrets Ornate Multicolor African Mask

Regular price $81.95
Sale price $81.95 Regular price
Sale Sold out

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SKU: SKU: SK-NVC-222886

Product Features
Working with Fair Trade certified organizations is an important part of what we do. This product is made by artisans that are fairly compensated for their skilled work, and helps provide a living wage as well as safe work conditions.

His gaze is guarded, his mouth closed. Richly embossed brass and aluminum cover the man's quiet features. By Awudu Saaed, this African mask is his own original design. He names the piece Tsui Mli, meaning 'what's within your heart' in the Ga language.

  • materials: Sese wood, aluminum and brass
  • Intended as wall decor
  • Hand-crafted item -- color, size and/or motif may vary slightly
16.25 in. H x 6.5 in. W x 2.8 in. D

Artisan Information

Awudu Saaed

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I am a friendly but quiet person and, when I was a boy, I used to follow some friends back home after school. Their parents had a workshop where carvers, designers, and finishers were always busy working, and I loved watching what they did and how they did it. Noticing my interest, I was given the opportunity to try my hands at sandpapering the carved items by observing the older people. As I improved, I began learning how to design and finish a product. I think that because I admired this work so much I was a fast learner.

I had to drop out of school due to financial difficulties – mother was alone looking after us six children. I wanted to be able to help her, and so I decided to join the workshop full time. My younger brother also joined me and, together, we decided to work very hard so we could send the rest of our siblings to school.

"The master at the workshop knew of our situation and allowed us to sell some of the works we were able to finish by ourselves. That way we could make some money and take it home to add it to the little money mother was able to make.

"Our situation began to change gradually as I improved designing and finishing carved items. I was also taught how to carve masks, but I prefer designing and painting. I see myself more as a designer and a finisher. After serving a while under master Abdul Karim Star, another featured artist, I started to work on my own in 1996.

"Starting on my own was not easy at all, but what helped me was that, while working for my master, I used the little money I made to buy the basic tools I needed. I used to travel by road to Senegal, Mali, and Burkina Faso to sell my work at fairs.

"I was determined to make it and also be able to take care of my siblings. The long travel paid off, my works were selling well, and I was able to put my siblings through school. This inspired me to bear all these risks of traveling.

"However one day, on route with a friend to an artisan fair in Dakar, we were in a serious accident. We were traveling by bus and we had quite a few carvings we intended to sell. But the bus was fully packed and could not climb the hill on the border between Burkina Faso and Mali. The driver decided to reverse down and we ended up somersaulting into a ditch.

"It was 2 am when it happened, and all was very dark. My friend and I weren't as seriously injured as others so we walked to the nearest village with two other men to try to get some help. We told our story to the police, who drove us back to the accident. The most injured people had already been taken to the hospital so the police just left us there! We picked our belongings, rescued the carvings that hadn't been damaged and we hitched a ride into Dakar.

"Fortunately our client there helped us – we had spent the money we had in medical expenses. Our client got in touch with other people and they bought all the remaining pieces, and that was just about enough for us to be able to get back home.

"Once home it all sort of hit me and I got into a bad state – I didn't leave home or work for a year. Eventually, I realized our family finances were in danger and my brother needed help at the workshop. I went there and, after seeing everyone work so hard, I wanted to carve again. At first, it was tough to stop thinking about the accident but, through carving, I know I have overcome it.

"I have exhibited my work in Ghana's Trade Fair (in 2010 and 2011), and now I also train people as designers and finishers. Now three of these apprentices work with me while others have started their own workshops.

"My dream for the future is to further my education and expand my workshop to be able to train more people."

Supplier Information

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NOVICA was started with a dream to create a better world for artisans, because a better world for artisans is a better world for all.

Along the way, the founders of NOVICA discovered something very important - as artisans around the world succeeded, there was also a visible and profound impact on the communities around them.

Your purchases are that powerful. They directly and indirectly provide for education, help with health care, fund basic needs, support children, preserve disappearing arts, and of course, spread happiness around the world.

The founders of NOVICA had a vision of the future that is not one of mega factories producing cookie cutter products for all to cheaply consume. Instead, a bright future that celebrates artisans who take the time to create an item by hand. A future where time is protected, where stories are told, where unique details are honored. Love, respect, inclusiveness become driving force.


United States shipping only. Expedited shipping is unavailable. Allow for 1-2 days extra processing time. This product may ship separately from other products in your order and may have longer than normal shipping timelines as it will ship directly from its country of origin.


All sales of this product are final -- we do not accept returns or issue replacements unless there is a defect with the product. Please review our Returns & Exchanges policy.

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