Whether partnering with women potters in Gomoa-Onyadze or learning Fante and Creole in Ghana and Haiti, I gravitate to children and families. After school, children would stop by my bungalow and play with the Legos I brought from home. They built dreams, let them tumble, and giggled about it all. But they had lost siblings, parents, neighbors, and even as they sculpted clay in my classes, I saw grief wash over their faces.

When I returned home, I could not get their voices out of my mind and soon their stories welled up inside my clay. I heard the laughter, the sadness, and the silence in my studio.

And then the horrific news came of Boko Haram’s midnight kidnapping of school girls. These innocents were murdered, raped, and married off to militants. Some became child soldiers or suicide bombers. My work asks who those children might have become. It exposes the terrors they have suffered and plants their loss in the forefront of our minds so we can change this recurring nightmare.