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African Wood Carvings 

Meet Deo!

Deo lives in Kampala, Uganda and is an incredible wood carver specializing in traditional African Carvings. 

Watch the videos of Deo explaining his processes, inspirations, and life in Uganda!

Wood Carving as an African Art

African Art is often portraying non-abstract concepts,primarily humans and animals, though in often very over pronounced and disproportionate ways. These distortions are mechanisms for the artist to communicate the subject that gives the carving its permanence. The most famous of African Art is the African Mask. This is partly due to the influence of African Masks on the artistic movement known as Modernist Art. Modernism drew from these African Masks because of their lack of concern for naturalistic depictions. 

This style of art is most seen in West Africa, notably modern Nigeria. Starting with the Nok culture (500 BCE - 500 AD), sculptures became a prevalent part of West African Cultures. These span from Terracotta to bronze in material and required incredible degrees of expertise. 

Figurines are another significant form of traditional African Art due to the affordability and prevalence of wood available for carving. Ivory was another popular material for carving though obviously much rarer due to the expense. These wood carvings often would be used during religious practices. As expected, across Africa, the styles of these carvings change. The primary difference between West African and Central African carvings are the prevalence of  circles and dots along with heart-shaped faces in Central African Art. 

East Africa has three tribes that are particularly famous for their carvings; The Makonde (Tanzania), The Shona (Zimbabwe), and the Karamojong from Uganda. Sadly, most of the Karamojong carvers were among the victims of Idi Amin's rule. East Africa is known specifically for their pole carvings. These poles are often placed next to graves and are thought to have a connection to the ancestral world. Many of their carvings focus on Cattle and Warriors. 

Wood Carving in Action!

Enjoy this video where Deo explains how he creates these incredible wood carvings using traditional African Wood carving techniques!

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