March 29, 2023

Dubai Week

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Sculpture on camel bones ... a "strange" craft on the brink of extinction

Sculpture on camel bones … a “strange” craft on the brink of extinction

The 55-year-old artist, Uluzo, is having great difficulty protecting his craft SomaliaIn 2006, he was shot in the arm by the brother of the owner of a pile of camel bones.

As far as he knows, Ulusho is one of the 4 artisans or artists who work with bone Camels Now a poor African country of about 16 million people.

In 1978, one of the many periods of war and turmoil in Somalia, gunmen in Mogadishu and another city killed dozens of artisans.

For years, the man secretly carved bones in his home and then took them to markets to sell cleverly.

Ulusho, whose hands and arms are strong and muscles are strong due to hard work, learned the craft from his father in 1976 and plans to work to ensure that the decades-old tradition is not destroyed after his death.

“My children will inherit from me these skills that I received from my father. I do not want these skills to perish,” he said, surrounded by bones on all sides in his workshop in Mogadishu.

Most of Oluso’s clients are government officials or wealthy Somalis living abroad. A hard-earned swimmer can earn about $ 50 in a country where 7 out of 10 people live on less than $ 2 a day.

One of the clients who visited his workshop said that the price was reasonable compared to the work: “The important thing is quality, not price. I prefer these swimwear to those imported from countries like.” China“.

According to a 2019 US government study, Somalia is home to the largest number of camels in the world. Cattle It provides livelihood to 60 percent of the country’s population.

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Camel bone carving has been a major source of income for Ulso and his family for decades, and he says he has invested nearly $ 5,000 in importing machinery from Italy to carve and drill hard bones to make work “quickly and safely” without injuries. . “

However, the hard physical work he learned from his father gives some details that make his jewelry and swimming beads so special.

“Our plan is to export these products to other countries. God willing, we will continue to work in this field of art until we become rich,” Oluso said, dreaming of selling his product overseas.