Djam Vivie is a master wood carver from the Volta region of Ghana, West Africa. Both his grandfathers were wood carvers, and as a child he picked up the craft. He made his first sale at the age of fourteen by selling a ceremonial stool for $10. After spending years as a wood carver in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, Djam arrived in the U.S. in 1995. His first winter was experienced in New York City, and he has since made his home in Madison, Wisconsin. Djam's work includes hand crafted drums, beds, masks, furniture and sculptures. His work has been displayed in various exhibits, including the Art of the Lega at Nelson Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri; Wisconsin Arts Board's Lobby Exhibit in Madison, Wisconsin; and at the American Embassy in Ivory Coast, West Africa. Currently Djam is working on carving a mural for the Madison Public Library, South Madison Branch in Madison, Wisconsin.
Djam is a natural teacher and has extensive experience in workshops on wood carving, drum-building, and drum-playing. He was recently chosen to take part in apprentice program with Wisconsin Art Board, where he will be taking on two apprentices to teach them the art of wood sculpture. Previous projects include teaching elementary school students West African drum-building and drum-playing techniques. He has also taught African Mask Carving and Wood Sculpture classes for groups of all ages. Djam conducted his first drum-building workshop in Grayling, Michigan back in April, which was a big success. Besides carving wooden masterpieces and teaching classes and workshops, Djam plays drums for two African music bands in Madison, the Ghanaian folk band Atimevu Drum and Dance Ensemble and Malian music group Tani Diakite and the Desert Trance Infusion.
Wisconsin Arts BoardPublished on Aug 17, 2015 In this video, Djam Vivie describes how he chooses to hollow and shape logs to make drums with specific sounds.
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