by Virginia Ryan
Dale & Eva
Luciano, an Italian textile artist and
his wife Eva, a textile designer in Florence, have just landed
It is November, 2001.
This is Luciano's second trip.
By one of life's strange co-incidences, we first met last year
in Italy. Luciano had asked me then if I'd ever been to Ghana.
I live there now, I'd answered to his surprise.
Unlike Luciano, Eva had never been in West Africa before.
Today the three of us are travelling to
the Blakhud research centre in Klikor, not far from the border
with Togo. As we climb into the car I look way above me, up into
the western heavens.
The sky is cloudy great billowing clouds, heavy with the
promise of rain.
Benjamin part time guardener and occasional substitute
driver, is behind the wheel. We plan to leave Luciano and Eva
in Klikor and drive back to Accra late this afternoon, and I
prefer to have company on the way back.
Along the way, the landscape changes from deforested flatlands
to dense vegetation dotted by clearings before metamorphosing
During the entire journey we see people walking by the road in
a slow, steady stream, moving from one village to the next. The
Accra-Aflao road has visibly deteriorated after the last rainy
season. Potholes abound.
Occasionally we pass some wizened old man filling in one of the
holes with dirt shovelled from the roadside. We invariably slow
down, hand over some loose coins. For the benefit of gullible
motorists, old men like him will have been filling in the same
hole, sometimes for days!
As we enter Ewe territory, Benjamin, who
is an Ewe, tells us shyly that his village is not far away.
"Ok, so you can talk to my Ewe brother at the Blakhud art
center, in Klikor!" exclaims Luciano enthusiastically.
"Your brother, Sir?" asks Benjamin, turning his head
slightly, dark eyes smiling.
"Yes, the director of the art centre in Klikor, Dale Massiasta,
is now my Ewe brother!" exclaims Luciano proudly.
He leans over the seat and explains in slow English, his second
language "I came to Ghana some months ago for the first
time last March. I wanted to learn about handweaving the
Klikor way, because, you see, I'm also a hand weaver in my country,
Italy. I'd been curious about African hand weaving for years,
and Dale Massiasta was the man who helped me in the end. It was
destiny that we met up. I spent a month with him last time, and
we became very close in the end like brothers!"
"But how did you discover Klikor in the first place?"
I ask, curious "Its not exactly well known, is is?".
"Not at all. When I came to Ghana I had already heard of
these markets in Agbozume in the Volta region, where people from
different regions of Ghana, and sometimes further afield, meet
to trade in cloth. So after a couple of pretty slow days in Accra,
when I was beginning to feel I was wasting time, I decided to
catch a bus bound towards the border with Togo and take a look
for myself. These Ewe towns, like Agbozome, are almost at the
actual border. We left one day at dawn. It was a slow, bumpy
drive I can tell you no shock absorbers on that little
We all laugh. Just the thought of it has me tensing up for the
next line of pot-holes, despite our supposedly shock-absorbing
"But I got there in the end" continues Luciano cheerfully
"it took about five hours because the bus kept stopping.
And there were some police blocks. But I met some weavers in
the market almost immediately - people are very friendly in the
Ghanaian villages, and they invited me to stick around, you know,
have a good look and take my time. It's a small village, Agbozome,
so it didn't take long to see what it had to offer. I soon realised
there was no guesthouse, so the bus driver who was taking a bit
of a rest suggested a guesthouse in Klikor, just a few minutes
away. Of course, the guesthouse was completely closed because
nobody ever goes to Klikor for tourism, so he made some enquiries
for me, and in the end a village boy turned up to help. The boy
told me his name was Adzo"
"Isn't Klikor one of those places where there are temples
with Trokosis?" I ask Benjamin.
He nods "Yes. And there are still some others in the Volta
I'll have to ask Benjamin more about that next time, I decide
Luciano continues " Anyway, after lots of local enquiries
which took a lot of time, Azdo managed to get the key to the
guesthouse. As we walked there I told him I wasn't there for
a holiday but to learn about traditional handweaving. I remember
he broke into a big grin and told me hey! You're in the right
place, because we have an art centre of traditional African culture
right here in Klikor ! I will take you to talk to to the director.
It seemed too good to be true.
Night fell as we walked all the way to his side of the village.
Night falls so early here! So Adzo took me to a hut, thatched
of course, with a yellow sign on which was written MUSEUM "
Luciano chuckles "Yes.The Blakud Museum! It seemed incredible!
Then, in front of the door, a rather large, round man was lying
on a mattress resting. It turned out to be Dale Massiasta. It
wasn't a big place - a few buildings around a centre courtyard,
traditional style. Like a small self contained village, really.
Even though it was late, Dale introduced himself and insisted
on showing me around the museum with two rooms of stools, sculpture
and painting his own painting collection!"
"And who had painted them?"
"Actually, they were all done by Dale himself! Then he told
me his name, and showed me his curriculum, pasted in a prominent
place on the wall. I saw that he was born on the 4th of June
1952. I told him ha! You were born three days before me so we
decided, there and then, that we are twin brothers, he is the
elder and I, the younger one living in Italy!"
After a few more bumpy kilometres, Eva
suddenly observes, "Many people say now that it is hard
to travel in any authentic way, but this is about coincidence
and strange encounters, isn't it? As for me, I'm really excited
about going out to meet this famous chap Dale, I feel like I
know him and everyone else at Klikor, from hearing Luciano's
stories over the last year"
"But what are you two planning to do at the centre for the
next few weeks, exactly?" I ask.
"Ah, many things!" says Luciano gaily. He pats Eva's
hand. "Firstly, I have to introduce my wife to Dale, my
new Ewe brother!"
"And I want to learn the weaving techniques too, on the
traditional hand-loom" declares Eva "even though it
is generally a man's job here in Ghana."
"I've already taught Eva the basics about Ewe hand-looms,"
"So you'll be staying up here about a month now?" I
Luciano shrugs. "If all goes according to plan, yes, more
or less. We fly out from Accra at the beginning of December.
But we'll come back to Accra and tell you all about how things
went before we leave."
"You must!. So how many people actually work at the Blakhud
He laughs."You know Virginia, it doesn't really operate
like that.You'll see when we arrive, this arts centre is actually
a family home, Dale's home - a simple Ghanaian home with children
, lots of family, the usual goats and chickens and functions
as a center if students come to make research of some type
say, on carving, traditional religious practises, the history
of local slavery, whatever."
"Dale helps link up the right people and get things happening"
Luciano nods. "To give you an example, when I first arrived,
once we'd established what I was on about, we just went out with
a few men, cut a tree and got to work building a loom! Then when
it was finished, Dale invited any of the local weavers willing
to teach me , so that I was soon actually weaving with both the
young and the old weavers. After a while it felt like everyone
in Klikor was looking at my work and giving me suggestions, which
was exactly what I hoped might occur."
I turn to Eva "And you want to go out and do some weaving.
But, what about this business of being female? In Ghana mainly
the men do the weaving, don't they?"
"So what will that mean to the people there that you are
going to work with?"
Eva waves her hand dismissively, as if to down-play the issue.
"Oh, some women weave now not allot, but Dale's sister-in-law,
for example - Luciano told me she weaves."
"That's right, she does," says Luciano. " About
forty years ago it was more or less taboo for women. It just
wasn't expected of them. It was man's work, and was - is - considered
the first serious work a male adolescent can do".
" Luciano says the little boys from Klikor still see the
men weaving, and want to grow up to be like them." adds
"Women did other things cooking, cleaning, caring
for children. All the usual stuff"
I gaze at the village by the side of the road. In Accra too,
I reflect, most of the weavers by the street are men, who spend
the days sitting at their hand -made wooden looms, tirelessly
producing the long strips, which many tourists buy singly, but
can be sewn together to make big cloths.
"But Luciano, what does the act weaving mean to you? The
way you talk about it makes me think of weaving as a metaphor
for the web of life is it like that, am I on the right
track.... like a Zen and the Art of Weaving approach?" I
ask, somewhat hesitatingly.
He frowns slightly. " Maybe! You know, even when I was a
small boy, I always had bits of string in my pocket, and it just
grew from there. I've written about it, a book called, in Italian
Tessere e' Essere"
"It means, literally, weaving is being, " explains
"You know, I can't remember if I told you this before, but
I've not been trained formally in weaving it all happened
by pure chance, after I finished studying philosophy at University.
Sometime afterwards I was out in the Italian countryside and
I met a couple who happened to have a South American hand loom
similar to traditional central Italian hand looms . They asked
me if I felt like trying. I'll have a go, I thought. After all,
why not? And you know, when I did I found it was the same sort
of structure, the same mechanism that I enjoyed in abstract thinking.
After all, it was so close to philosophy! In the handloom, for
example, if you pull the wrong thread everything unravels!"
"Luciano always says that the discipline in good weaving
resembles that of good thinking" says Eva
"That's exactly it!. And it was a relief for me to find
another way of constructing something, because the philosopher
might just sit and think, but with a loom you move your hands
and feet, and the end result -the cloth - is not just for a few
people like you, who understand abstract thought".
"Everybody can look at carpets, or woven cloth, after all.
And wear them, sit on them, lie under them..." says Eva.
Here in West Africa, there are famous stories about the naming
of the world originating from the first words woven on the loom
the loom opens its mouth and cloths come out, like words"
"Yes, in the beginning was the word!" declares Luciano.
" That reminds me of our english expression, To spin a yarn
to tell a story."
" You say that in English?" asks Luciano.
"Its an old expression, Irish maybe? Sounds irish! And to
go back to what Eva said, in ancient Greece the goddess of weaving,
Athena , was the same as the goddess of philosophy" continues
Luciano. He sinks comfortably back into the car seat, sighing
"Ahh, those ancient goddesses knew a thing or two!".
" But we are really coming back to this obscure little place,
Klikor, not only because of the connection with abstract thinking,
but because it is also about rhythm and music" says Eva,
"The good weaver, you see, is accompanied by the rythmic
tako-tako-tako of his shuttle. So there's actually a marvellous
rhythm in composing a cloth." Luciano takes a moment to
reflect, then continues thoughfully, "which in turn, corresponds
to the rythm of your body your hands, feet, heart-beat"
"So that like a dance, and like a spider spinning a web,
you pull out the cloth from the loom" declares Eva slowly
. "And its' so exciting for weavers like us here in Ghana,
to see all these people weaving absolutely everywhere, on the
side of every road or corner!"
Luciano leans forward again. " In Klikor, to go back to
your first question, we're going to research all the symbols
they incorporate into their centuries old weaving stools,
animals, keys, goats , scorpions, cats you name it
and discover the stories behind the design. There is always a
story" he declares triumphantly. "So you could say
that we are journeying from words all the way to weaving and
then back again to stories, to words!"
" Stories and weaving. I think I know what you are getting
at" I say, happy to be in the company of artists who create
such a dynamic connection between Africa and the over-developed
West, for this journey is all about finding the creative threads
which connect us all. "You know, coming back to Ghana, it
reminds me of the story of an extraordinary pair of Ashanti,
the young prince Kwame Boaschi and his cousin Kwasi, who were
whisked off to study in Holland sometime around the mid nineteenth
century. Kwasi returned many years later as a young man and was
forced to spend a seemingly interminable waiting at the fortress
of until the Ashanti King would allow him back to Kumasi. In
the end, in sheer desperation, Kwasi took to the loom for the
first time, and began weaving Kente cloth, which he dreamt of
wearing upon his future return to his home city."
"And did he?" asks Luciano
I shake my head "No. That's what is so sad. He never went
back. But the actual weaving of his Kente that's connected
to what we are talking about was about home, honor, and
transformation. And longing. All his longing for home was acted-out
in the weaving. Sadly, it didn't work though"
"What do you mean?" Luciano asks.
"He ended up taking his own life, unable to wait any longer
for permission to return to Kumasi, once he had mastered the
loom and completed the cloth as if there was nothing else
he could do."
We drive the last few kilometers, driving
over a mass of deep potholes. Beside the road, the dense vegetation
clears away to create space for more small villages.
At a certain point, Luciano tells Benjamin to slow down, turn
left. We've arrived in Klikor!
We drive off onto a dirt track for a kilometer or so, even spotting
one of Luciano's old friends who happens to be walking along
the track, peers into the car as we pass and, catching Luciano
peering back out, begins shouting gleefully. Perhaps he was sent
to wait for us.
We stop the car and Luciano jumps out.
The boy embraces Luciano warmly, and then slaps him on the back,
exclaiming Welcome Luchanno! Luchanno!
The boy hops back in the car with us, still slapping Luciano
Two minutes later, pulling off the dirt track, we've arrived
at the Blakhud Art Centre.
Dale Massiasta is waiting, a calm man who
looks to be in his mid forties, bare-footed, in shorts and faded
red-shirt. We are led to him by a group of lively young men,
all equally excited to see Luchanno.
Dale sits in the courtyard, stands to greet us and immediately
insists we rest on the wooden seats under the porch. Someone
brings us a tin receptacle filled with water a tin can,
reminding me of our Australian bush 'Billy can'.
Dale takes it from him and in a more formal tone requests we
each take a sip and splash a few drops on the ground at our feet.
For the guardians, he explains firmly.
In turns, we do this. I only let the water wet the tip of my
tongue, but to compensate, I let a few extra drops moisten the
ground about my feet.
Dale then takes us into his little office besides the main courtyard.
We take our shoes off and leave them by the little concrete step.
One by one we bend our heads and enter the small, shadowy room,
with one lightly curtained window that faces the internal courtyard.
It's a surprisingly cool, restful space.
A bookcase stands in one corner, an old wooden bookcase full
of writings on Africa - slavery, the gold coast, and local religious
rites. Two tables are positioned nearby, heaving precariously
under the weight of Dale's files hiding a laptop computer
so there is electricity here in the back streets of Klikor! Sure
enough, when I look up a bare light bulb dangles from the ceiling.
Dale invites us to sit down on the bed, which doubles up as sofa.
Eva sinks down beside me on the faded tartan cover. There are
two other office chairs in the room, where Dale and Luciano sit,
looking suddenly very business-like.
For the benefit of we two newcomers, Dale politely informs us
that he's also a writer. When I display sincere interest, he
immediately hands over a pile of manuscripts short stories,
studies on slavery and local temples, oral folk tales that he
is pain-stakingly recording.
He tells me if I want to read them I will have to stay, as he
has only one copy.
Luciano declares proudly that Dale is a true Ghanaian 'renaissance
Together the two men discuss the following week's activities.
Luciano announces that he wishes to weave a communal 'Encyclopedic
Cloth' of all symbols used in Klikor textiles.
"I like the idea of the encyclopedia cloth" Dale says
approvingly, adding, "yesterday, because we were all talking
about you both coming, we started making a loom for Eva, so she
can learn while you are engaged in your project, Luciano".
Luciano dips his head briefly as a sign of thanks.
"Everything I can do I will to help you, my brother"
states Dale, with great simplicity. "I have some knowledge;
so I think that everything you want you can get from us here,
except" he pauses impishly, and adds with notable self-irony
"probably money! Yes, just look around you!"
Dale spreads his arms wide, heaving a great theatrical sigh "the
only thing we don't have here, Luchanno, is M-O-N-E-Y."
Before I leave, everyone lines up for a
photo in front of one of the mud-brick buildings - Luciano, a
group of youths, one small boy and Eva. Dale disappears into
his office to put on ceremonial dress, and comes out proudly
wrapped not in a Kente, but in a very British yellow -gold cloth,
resplendent with the repeated image of Queen Elizabeth's face.
I can hardly believe my eyes. She pops up everywhere, even in
the Blakhud Art Centre!
"Wow! Where did you get that amazing cloth, Dale?"
He's obviously pleased someone noticed. "It is special,
Virginia! A special gift from a dear friend. You like it?"
"Oh yes, it's a great gift!" And what's more, it's
yet more evidence, as if it were needed, of the Ghanaians wide-spread
love for Queen Elizabeth: I see that all over the place here.
And now Dale, maker of fine Kente, is actually standing here
before us wearing a brocade portrait cloth of her!
Dale laughs loudly. "Yes, its true, we love her, we Ghanaians."
He pauses and repeats emphatically "Really, truly love her."
"Why is that, Dale why is she so important?"
"Why? Because she is a woman! Ghanaians love women. We love
her much more than her father, who was king before."
"Why is that?"
He looks at me with a light touch of impatience, as if I'm very
slow-witted. "I just told you. Because she is a Woman!"
Dale then wraps the cloth tighter, like a Roam toga, seats himself
elegantly on the one chair in the foreground, maintaining his
role as natural-born leader and founding-father of Blakhud. Other
assorted men stand directly behind him, side-by-side with Luciano
and Eva. They collectively gaze, with apparent solemnity but
some twitching at the corners of the mouth, into the camera lens.
"This will be a great photo!" I exclaim sincerely.
Dale rubs his hands together, satisfied after hearing my old
beloved canon camera click.
Benjamin and I head back towards Accra. I fall asleep in the
back of the car for most of the way. When we reach the city,
I awaken to suddenly notice all the weavers who inhabit the city.
Three weeks pass with prescios little communication
between Klikor and Accra.
When Luciano and Eva come back from Klikor they look more sculptured
- the way people do when they've been living with essentials.
Later, sitting down to the meal, they say it is their first meal
at a table for a few weeks. people tend to eat privately there
in the village, they say, as everything else is so totally public.
"We lived just like everyone else out there" Eva tells
us over a plate of very Italian pasta con pesto. "We ate
mainly this sort of porridge with different sauces, some quite
spicey and sometimes there was rice, or fufu to eat with
our hands. It takes a while to get used to; the palm oil too
takes a while to digest. And sleeping with mosquitoes - at first
I thought I might have to leave as I just couldn't sleep! But
then I slowly adapted, it really only took a few days.
And it was incredible the way people reacted to Luciano's return"
" I hadn't thought people there would be so warm" he
"I remember when we drove out there, everyone was shouting
Luchanno and slapping you on the back!" I laugh.
"But it was also hard, believe me.I mean, how different
things were. Not the different rythm of the day. I got used to
that - getting up at five, working from seven till six in the
evening" says Eva "Then we'd go back to the guesthouse
and luckily we could watch a bit of local tv which I found really
intriging, and we'd generally go to bed very early. people were
so generous. But there are so many differences between Europeans
and the Africans we met there; it will be very difficult for
me ever to relate the way I'd really like. And I realised that
the roles and heirarchy in that particular society are something
so distant from my usual approach to life. Sometimes it was almost
impossible for me. You must be very, very careful how you relate
to older people, for example. And it was very masculine from
my point of view! I was there as a wife, which meant I had to
wear very long things - two or three pieces of textile over my
skirt. It was very uncomfortable. I got a strong feeling that
African people don't need comfort. They need whatever is considered
elegant. And I suppose I was forcing boundaries quite a lot,
like being taught how to weave on a kente loom, which as you
know is a male activity still, and I was trying to learn it all
so fast, during these few weeks - too fast for them .So they
were trying to teach me slowly, like they would with their children
- that the children watch first, and then finally try. And I
was constantly forcing that. people were helpful, very helpful,
from the beginning.But I wasted some prescious time trying things
that didn't work out. The last three, four days I was left more
alone, to try by myself . You know, I reached my goal in the
end! . But the weavers had so much patience with me, and an amazing
ability to concentrate on one thing and be totally 'in it'- something
we don't have."
"Ah, ha! There you are!" I say triumphantly "
Sounds like Zen and the Art of Weaving again if you ask me!"
She smiles. "Something like that! There is a way of saying
what I just explained. I can't remember the Ewe words but it
actually means Are you in it? and I was answering Yyes, I am
here!' But actually it meant much more than that"
"What do you mean?"
"It meant, are you totally concentrating on this act? ,
which is their training to do it completely, with patience,
whereas westerners tend to move from one thing to another, think
alot, circumvent things this is not their way at all.
Dale' s wife was looking at me all the time - you know, me being
a woman. And someone was always sitting nearby, apparently doing
nothing, with loads of patience, until I made a mistake! Usually
an older man with lots of experience would come to my rescue.
But I had a young boy who helped me too, especially at the end
when nearly everyone was involved in Luciano's 'Encyclopedic
Cloth', and I'd been more or less abandoned. But you know I just
kept trying to improve and there was this one guy, this young
guy, who wanted to stay with me, to be challenged. And finally
they were all convinced I could do a symbol on the big Encyclopedic
Cloth - I did the Italian and Ghanaian flags!" She stops
momentarily, adding somewhay wistfully. " yet, sometimes
I just felt like people were wasting their time on me"
" But they didn't see it that way at all, Eva" declares
"I know that. They were incredibly generous. And I just
loved watching people weaving , especially a man called Robert
who was my teacher. He was definately 'in it'. He wove with perfect,
measured gestures, which we didn't have"
" And of course, quite predictably, the young weavers cared
more about speed than accuracy" observes Luciano.
Eva laughs. "Youth is similar everywhere! The lesson they
must learn is that you can be as slow as you want, but you must
be accurate. Robert, for example, was both fast and accurate,
something to witness, I can tell you!"
She pauses and leans back on her chair and looks at me, "And
whilst all this was going on, Luciano was busy on the cloth encyclopedia!"
"Ah yes!" says Luciano, clearly satisfied with his
month's work. "Weaving this particular cloth was quite an
adventure, involving about fifteen weavers from the master weavers,
like Robert, to an eleven year old, so it's a work not only about
kente, but about different people and their attitudes to work.."
"Go get the Encycopedic cloth for us, Luciano, will you?"
"Please, Luciano" I exclaim "And Giancarlo will
be back soon. He will want to see".
Luciano disappears upstairs, and after a few minutes comes back
with a long black roll of cloth which he begins unwinding, a
thin strip of twenty or so centimetres width, but far longer
than the length of our terrace.
I take the other end and began unravelling.
It seems to go on forever.
"Our aim wasn't to improve we
certainly can't improve the perfection of Ewe weavings"
explains Luciano " but to find the best way to do it and
get all the important symols woven into the cloth. We had to
consult books, old cloths and the people there in Klikor. Memory
is so important! There were lots of never-ending discussions."
"But was it all done on one loom?" I ask in amazement.
"Yes, of course. It is 55 metres long - all one piece. With
about 200 different patterns."
"And was there much discussion about who was going to do
which symbol? For example did this man Robert tell people which
symbols to do?"
"Well, there was an art director the one and only
Dale Massiasta, of course. He really knows the way to weave a
very complicated pattern and so many times, without weaving,
he did sketches for example of what was to be woven next."
"Look at this one here, for example" says Eva, leaving
the table and bending over the dark cloth. She points to some
of the symbols. " See, here there is an aroplane, followed
by a star and then a spider web. But they only told us the meanings
of such symbols on the very last day, when Luciano had displayed
the entire fifty five metres outside the museum so that local
people could see it, and comment."
We finish unrolling the cloth. The symbols are woven in at intervals
of twenty centimetres or so.
"Did it finish because you ran out of time, or because you
had managed to get down all the symbols?" I ask, enchanted.
Luciano grins. "Ha! This is Africa, remember. I can't say
how many more there might have been.The official version of why
is ends here, in this very spot, is that a kid - a little goat
- ate part of the warp and so it was cut!"
"No! Is that true?"
"Yes! That's what really happened!" he laughs. "There
were always animals in Dale's courtyard. We had Eva's loom set
up, my loom for the encyclopedia of symbols and then there was
this American anthropologist as well, a young woman, going through
her initiation into the cult of the Thunder God. She was staying
at the guesthouse too, so we would talk sometimes in the evening-
she was pretty traumatised. Then , in other parts of the courtyard,
children and animals would all be running about! And there was
always a radio playing pop. A very noisy situation." says
Luciano, chuckling "Something was bound to happen to the
cloth at some point, and when it finally did, they got together
and decided we should all go to the shrine - you know, there
are many in Klikor - to ask for protection for the cloth. That
seemed like a very good idea at the time! So, to cut a long story
short, once in the temple, a chicken was sacrificed"
"And who killed the poor chicken?" I ask
Luciano hesitates. "Well, actually the chicken died in our
hands, while the priest was holding my shoulders"
I raise my eyebrow. "Died of what - of fright?"
"It just seemed to co-operate and die" says Luciano,
throwing up his hands. "Maybe it was fright, I don't know"
He frowns slightly, remembering , "It was quite strange.
I still don't understand. "
"You know, thinking back, perhaps one of the best things
that happened was this little boy who at the beginning was so
scared as there people tell you if you are naughty, the white
man will take you! He was so terrified of me" says Eva
" Kids were always following us, shouting 'white man, white
man with dark hair'. Sometimes it was funny, other times I didn't
like it at all. Anyway this one little boy, who would scream
when he saw me, little by little came around to being my friend,
would touch my hair. He just liked to be near me".
"And did you have any time off?" I ask.
"Not much" says Luciano " It was pretty intense.
Some times there were village meetings. We were invited to one
of the local rituals, to dances, to funerals there was
quite a social life. This last Sunday we were invited to a ceremony
in the church - speeches, drums and dancing . I had to make a
speech . I said something like:
I have been happy to meet you and your
people. I feel like your son. And as I am a weaver, I feel the
Ewe weavers of Klikor and of all Ghana are like brothers. And
I try also to improve the income of my brother weavers, because
I've seen that weavers here are compelled to go to the market
and sell their work for cheap prices. My elder brother Dale helped
me to see which are the best cloths woven here, and together
we collected one hundred small examples, which I will take with
me so that everybody in the world can seewhat you do on the internet.
And I hope to make an exhibition in Accra next year so that more
people can see.This is my gift to you .I hope this collection
will grow! To finish I said
We thank the master weaver Robert Aleawobu and the director of
Blakhud, Dale Massiasta.
Then eveybody started clapping and then the orchestra asked me
to join in and in the end I had a two thousand cedi note plasted
to my forehead, for being an expert dancer at this particular
"Luciano's way of dancing is considered very, very interesting
in Klikor" adds Eva, shaking her head in apparent disbelief.
"So I became dancer of the week as well as weaver
of the century!" he chuckles .
"And I'd like to know about the bead bracelet you're wearing.You
didn't have that on when you left!" I had noticed the pale
bead bracelet as soon as Luciano had entered.
"You must know that there is a sort of state code that a
bracelet must be warn on the left?" he asks.
I nod "Unless you are a man of particularly high degree?"
"So it is. The right hand is for chiefs and priests. But
before leaving Klikor, Dale wove the bracelet on my right wrist.
I said to him Dale, are you sure? And he said yes, now you are
a chief, and so....so now I am supposed to be a chief!"
"So that means you are one of their chiefs-for-life? It
means you have responsibilities?"
He nods gravely. "I imagine so"
"Which means you have to come back, doesn't it? Do they
want you to come back, both of you?"
"Of course. When time and money permits" replies Eva
with enthusiasm. "As we were leaving, Robert was asking
when Luciano would be back. They see this as an unfolding story.
So do we. And we want to do that show next year in Accra, we
told the people there already about our plans!"
"Then you'll be back for sure. You're committed now! "
I say, hoping it will be well before we are due to leave Ghana,
and Giancarlo and I might have the chance to witness the end
results of this collaboration of interwoven experience between
Dale, Eva, Luciano and the people of Klikor.