Harry Whitehorse International Wood Sculpture Festival
June 14 – 22, 2024

Djam Vivie

Djam Vivie was born in 1953 in the village Peki-Avetile, Volta Region, Ghana. He is a member of the Ewe tribe whose homeland spans sections of Ghana, Benin and Togo. When Djam first moved to the U.S., he originally settled in NYC but during a trip to southwest Wisconsin, he fell in love with the abundance and quickly moved.

Djam learned work working skills as a boy. “Somebody in the village needs to know how to make the drums. They learn how to build a drum from a master taking an apprentice. My grandfathers on my mothers and fathers were both craftsmen who built traditional furniture and drums for the village. I learned from watching them. They gave me inspiration and by watching them I developed my own style. Through practice, I used my imagination to solve the problems that came up in a project.”

Like earlier generations of wood carvers in his family, Djam makes a variety of items: chief stools, chairs, masks, spoons, figures and drums. Most of his work is done with hand tools but since moving to Wisconsin he has adopted the chainsaw for hollowing out logs for drums.

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San Damiano Monona
4123 Monona Drive, Monona, Wisconsin
Bike or walk a short distance to San Damiano Monona from Monona Grove High School.