Tom Joyce, Striking Iron’s lead curator, is an artist and MacArthur Fellow trained in the art of forging iron. Drawing on his hands-on experience and insights into the techniques and stylistic specificities of African blacksmiths, he helps us look closely and appreciate the exceptional artworks on view. Joyce has conducted fieldwork in Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Togo, and the Republic of Bénin and brings three decades of research into African ironworks to his narrations.
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Forging: The Blacksmith’s Tools
Bells Made by Kabre and Ewe Peoples of Togo
Blacksmiths in the south and north of Togo forge instruments used in their communities. Kabre blacksmith Kossi Kao and his assistant Essozimna Ide produce a bell (ekpande) performed in male initiation ceremonies. Ewe smith Galbert Atakpa and his colleague Hodenou Noglo forge a double bell form (gangokui) renowned in music ensembles internationally for its tonal range.