"When I was young, I loved to draw and came up with interesting sketches. I became interested in carving when I saw how images could be carved out of ordinary wood."
"I am wood carver. My name is Sylvanus Agbolo and I was born in Togo to a Togolese mother and Ghanaian father. My family is full of artisans — painters, musicians and wood carvers. I am an honest, humble and valiant person.
"When I was young, I loved to draw and came up with interesting sketches. I became interested in carving when I saw how images could be carved out of ordinary wood.
"Initially, I wanted to be a Catholic priest and enrolled in a seminary. My supervisor saw the way I could draw beautiful images. He suggested I enroll at a Catholic training center. Because of my talent, I was quick to learn skills and could carve all the images I had previously sketched.
"Although I did not go back to my initial dream of becoming a priest, I still carved for the churches in Ghana, Togo and other African countries. I have been carving since 1987. I've taught several people and I want to impact other people positively, especially young people.
"Aside from depicting themes of my Catholic faith, I love the action and the movement of animals. This has made me carve lots of different animal shapes in different poses.
"I was fortunate to team up with some carvers who were willing to help me make use of the talent and skill I had acquired. People who appreciate my work have been a great source of encouragement to continue this craft.
"I use ebony and African rosewood for my carvings. These woods are not very easy to work with but the outcome is beautiful and I am well compensated for the hard work. I am inspired by Jesus Christ, the saints and animals. I dream of one day opening a big workshop to train people."