Family Artistry

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Can you remember a time when certain families were famous for family talents they all had like music, for instance? Or they were famous for the excellent goods the family produced. If you wanted beautiful country cloth, you went to the “Konneh Compound”. If you wanted delicious rice bread, you went to the “Fania Compound”. Many of the children and grandchildren were born with or learned the skills of their parents and so the whole family was trained and worked together. There was Togetherness.

Handcrafting was one of our traditional arts handed down from generation to generation. Today, all the cheap plastic goods from places like China have replaced our traditional implements and furnishings. That is why we feel fortunate to have a family in our area of Gbarnga that maintains the tradition of “Family Artistry”. They handcraft beautiful household furnishings.

From the left in the photo above is Powmeah Geeboe, daughter; Tomo Geeboe, father; Tiebe Geeboe, wife; and James Wah, brother of Tiebe. Tomo, husband and father, is a furniture designer and builder. His designs are from the Bassa tradition. It is one day’s walk to reach the bush where he must collect his raw materials and four separate trips to collect all he needs. Then he processes and prepares them himself. From the road, we often see him, in his workshop designing and producing his furniture. Some of his chairs are shown in the photo.

Next to Tomo with the baby is Tiebe Geeboe. She is the wife of Tomo, a craftswoman and also the mother of Powmeah. She produces a variety of furnishings from baskets, like the one she is holding, to fans. Tiebe was featured in LIB Life once before with her beautiful guinea fowl feather fan.

Powmeah is the daughter of Tomo and Tiebe and is a young, budding textile design artist. She creates many of her own design stamps from natural phenomena like the stem of the corkwood tree – a traditional house painting design. Her window curtains and head-tie are displayed here. And to the far right is James Wah, the brother of Tiebe. He is a drum maker producing a variety of “country drums”.

This family of artists is our example of Togetherness. And besides earning money together, they provide support, security, comfort and care for each other. On our national drive for Unity, Togetherness is a major stepping stone along the way.

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