Thursday, July 1, 2010

Su Gande's Work

© by Chad Finer

I have posted this photo before. In one of my trips with Su Gande we stoppped on the way to his village for him to negotiate the cutting of this log into sections to be used for the carving of his Bondo helmet masks. This was taken on the road from Kenema to Panguma and was near where he came from. These sections would then be hauled back to his Kenema home from where he would then carve the masks on the back veranda of his house. Su Gande lived on the opposite side of Kenema from us on the north section of town. About once or twice a month I would visit him to talk and watch his work progress. I think he was amused by my interest in his work. He was quite a shrewd man - aware of his talent and somewhat dignified by the notoriety that he received by it. Folks would come by and marvel by his carvings in progress but in the same breath they would give him space as to some degree he was thought to have unusual abilities given his ability to carve these powerful figures. I did commission him to make me a few Bondo masks - one that I gave away to Mama Hokey (see prior postings) just prior to us leaving. I also had him make the African game of warri - and a statue of a Mende Devil I think called Yavii. He was amused by it all (my interest) and would turn out these items at his own pace.

4 comments:

bob said...

I remember the first year in Kenema. I wanted a Bundu mask to send home. I asked my students and one day a man showed up at my back door. i forget the price, maybe 10 Leones. he said would get one. 3 weeks later he came and I paid him the money. then the following day he wanted to "borrow" it. he was very sorry but that it was needed for a ceremony. so i "lent" it to him. 3 weeks later he brought it back, a bit scuffed. a month later he wanted to borrow it again. life in Kenema. it got back to the US. i still have it. i regret not having 2 made.

by Chad Finer said...

great story -

Anonymous said...

That's a good laugh from Bob! "3 weeks later he came and I paid him the money. then the following day he wanted to "borrow" it". Sounds more like a short term lease. Very interesting!

Anonymous said...

I wonder why it keeps showing me as "Anonymous" even though I've been clicking on name and typing in my name. Oh well, let me try this again.