Two years ago I lucked into a great space for an office. It needed a lot of TLC, which made me love it all the more. This being my first outside-the-home office just for writing, I filled it with things that inspire me, including this little lady. She stands about six inches tall, made of bronze. I call her Kofi Girl, named after her artist, Kofi Awudu Ouedraogo.
I met Kofi at Santa Fe’s Indian Market at his table outside the Cathedral Basilica. My friends and I were on our way to a meeting, on foot, and we weren’t exactly sure where we were going. I had time enough just to notice the table of statues and make a mental note that I wanted to return.
The next day was our last day in Santa Fe, but we had some free time. When deciding what to do and where to go for our last day, I mentioned the table with the statues, and I tried to describe where I saw it. My friend Keith stopped me, “I saw it, too,” he said. “I can lead us back there.”
Indian Market has hundreds of tables of handmade art. “Are you sure?” I asked. “It was by the church. You didn’t even look as we passed it.”
“Yep. I saw it,” he said, plain as day. His wife Johanna made eye contact with me and raised her eyebrows. We waited. “Bronze statues, about this high, yep, I saw it,” he said. “I thought the artist was very talented, so I committed it to memory.” Johanna and I laughed. This is classic Keith. He saw it, all right. And he never even looked.
We returned to the table and met Kofi, who was kind and genuine and talked to us about the process for making his statues. (We’d been to the Shidoni Foundry the day before for a demonstration—which is also why we we’d been running late to our meeting.)
Kofi told us he creates a new mold for each of his statues. He has to: Getting the statue out means he needs to break the mold. “I made this one,” he says about the one I chose, “Because, you see, she is able to do her home work [house work] and also go to school. She can do both.”
I carried her with me the entire day and held onto her like a treasure. Two years later in my office, her presence reminds me that anything’s possible.
You can find more on Kofi at Kofi Awudu Ouedraogo.