Amoah was born in Ghana, a country on the western coast of Africa. He grew up in the village of Ahwarse and went to grammar school in Accra, Ghana’s capital. Amoah comes from a long line of woodcarvers. His great-grandfather was a master carver and was his first teacher. Richard began carving when he was ten years old. For his first project, he found a tree limb that looked to him like a snake. While carving on it, he cut himself several times. His great-grandfather began teaching the art form by first showing him how to hold the tools and use them.
Through his work with his great-grandfather, Amoah learned how to carve traditional items, including ceremonial masks and drums. As he became a more accomplished carver, he began experimenting with new forms. After relocating to Accra, Ghana’s capital, and largest city, he began selling his work to a variety of people. He was commissioned by several of the large hotels to create work for display in their lobbies.
Amoah immigrated to the United States in 1997, first living in New York, then moving to Jones County, Mississippi. Since moving here, he has displayed his work at the Langston Hughes Community Library in Queens, New York, Laurel-Jones County Library, and at various local festivals. He has demonstrated his craft at Jones County schools and at the Lauren Rogers Museum of Art.
Amoah uses a wide range of types of wood in his work but especially likes making use of scrap or discarded wood. He also makes use of the woods that surround his home in Ellisville, finding trees or large branches that have already fallen. He loves the solitude of his home outside of town that allows him to use his chain saws and other tools to create.
Update – Fall 2013: Amoah has been living and working in Brooklyn, New York for the past several years, but he is planning on returning to Mississippi soon.