Melanie Akankyalabey and Franz Kröger
Awontiirim Calabash Art Works (A.C.A.W.), Wiaga
The Learning Centre and Its First Study Course
On Friday, 15th June, 2007, the A.C.A.W. Learning Centre was opened at the Akankyalabeys’ house in Wiaga-Yisobsa. The first forty-day course covered the following areas of calabash arts work: 1. Theory, 2. Handling and use of materials and tools, 3. Planning and exhibition, 4. Marketing skills. Nine young women and one man had come from Sandema (6), Kadema (2) and Wiaga (2) to learn the art of decorating calabashes using the pyrographic technique. The two trainers, Madam Melanie Akankyalabey (proprietor) and her brother, Mr. James Akankyalabey, had inherited the skill from their parents and improved it considerably in many years of practical work. Their repertoire of applied decorations comprises, among others, abstract forms, symbols of traditional culture (e.g. a war helmet), people in action (e.g. a war dancer, a mother with baby), traditional compounds, as well as Buli and English inscriptions, commemorating a birthday, Christmas or welcoming a visitor.
The Learning Centre, implemented by the CBRDP (Community Based Rural Development Project), enjoys the financial support of various sponsors, e.g. the Business Advising Centre, the District Assembly and the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment (MLGRDE). It aims at “training the youth in gainful skills to reduce poverty by engaging them to be self-employed”.
Photos from left to right:
1. Mrs Melanie burns a design into a calabash 2. The first study course 3. Mrs Melanie shows some decorated calabashes