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Joseph Kofi Asare aka "Makaf" is from the Krobo Odumase area of Ghana located in the Eastern region. Makaf whose name means "I will Praise thee" in the Ewe language is 34 years old and was inspired to be a jewelry designer by his mother, grandmother and a host of women and men in his family who have been involved in the art of bead making for years. He primarily works with Krobo beads, glass beads, cowry shells and Ashanti brass pendants.

Cece Amadou is from Timbuktu in Mali. He is 40 years old and has been involved in the jewelry business for most of his life. He works primarily in silver, amber and agate stone. His business is family run and he creates bold unusual pieces of work that are distinct from most Tuareg jewelry.

Mohammed Abubakar is from Gao, Mali. He is 51 years old and left Mali in 1981 to settle in Ghana. He started collecting diverse range of beads with his father at an early age. His passion for beads developed into a business and has been collecting and designing bead for many years. Most of his work is from Ghana, Mali and Niger. He specializes in contemporary chevrons and antique glass and wedding beads.

Shuaibu Gariba is a designer from Northern Nigeria (Sokoto). He is in his 40's and has been designing jewelry for most of his life. He is based in Accra, Ghana. Shuaibu works primarily with Agadez crosses and pendants from Niger as he spent significant time there and has familia ties to the country. He also uses waist and trade beads in his work.

Ismaila Ba'are is 61 years old and comes from a family of traders based in Niger. He specializes in the exquisite leather box work of Niger as well as mirrors, folders, frames, nickel/silver Tuareg work, etc.

Cynthia Obuo and Solomon Ayonuwe are a brother and sister team of Jewelry designers, 32 and 28 years of age, respectively. Both artists have had interest in designing from an early age and have familia ties to Nigeria and Ghana. Solomon who is based in Lagos, Nigeria, recently joined Cynthia in Accra to develop two shops, where they have a range of items including jewelry, clothing, etc. the designers work primarily with cow horn, trade, glass and waist beads.

Sema Shikur is from Addis Ababa and is in his 60's. He has been managing his family business of Ethiopian Jewelry, Coptic crosses, wood work and clothing for over 2 decades. He is a collector of Ethiopian antique silver jewelry, amber and amulets. His family members help in designing beautiful pieces of work from his collection of antiquities.

Left image: Tentacles of recycled glass beads and cowries


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