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ABSTRACT

The cultural identity of African people is gradually dying, scholars likeIkwuemesi (2000) believes that; the influx of western ways of life threatened the continued existence of the foundation of Igbo culture. The situation worsened, given to the fact that most parts of Igbo land were reduced to ruins during the 1967 – 1970 Nigeria-Biafra civil war, they embraced the western way of life, thereby neglecting their precious and priceless cultural practices. This is also evidenced in the gradual dwindling and extinction of the masquerade practices, and has equally become obvious in the so called technological advancement, and unperfected technological growth which has led to many system failures. Some Igbo cultural practices absorbed the Western way of life into its cultural activity in sustenance of her practices like the Ijele masquerade. An Ijele of 1950 differs from that of 2016 because the Ijele‟s of 1950 and 2016 represent what is obtainable during their time and technological development. This research created sculptural forms from the Ijele masquerade and also created awareness on masquerade activity especially the Ijele masquerade, even though this cultural activity tried to blend with the modern time, people still see the practice as being fetish. The problem of this study is that visual artists, have not explored the individual forms that make up the Ijele masquerade, and they have not been able to isolate and study these forms, artists have also not carefully considered the philosophical, and artistic perspectives inherent in the Ijele form for sculptural dialogue. The objectives of the study were; to identify and produce sculptural relief elements of the Ijele masquerade, extract various sculptural forms cladded with coloured fabrics inspired by the Ijele masquerade, create female forms from the Ijele masquerade, explore the possibilities of producing female and animal forms as they co-exist within the natural environment, extracted from the Ijele masquerade, create an outdoor installation sculpture, that will be a culmination of all the basic forms extracted from the Ijele masquerade. The research was guided by the theory of Hans-George Gadamer (1900-2002) and the philosophy of the Natural synthesis (the idea of borrowing from traditional elements and concepts to be infused into formal art). The research methodology discusses the various methods explored especially the practice-based research method. Scholars and traditional artists were visited for data collection on the Ijele masquerade, the materials used to actualize the studio exploration and its written components were discussed. The works produced were discussed in line with the objectives of the study, in the context of the Ijele Anambra Igbo philosophy world view, which was guided by the research questions. The findings were discussed in line with the objectives of the study which are that; Ijele masquerade‟s upper section is made up of sculptural representations of human daily activity, and the spiritual world, while the lower section comprises of uli signs and symbols. The symbols are philosophies of day to day living of the people. It also contains animal forms like; the Enyi (elephant), Oko-okpa (rooster) Ngwere (lizard), Eke (python), Oji (kolanut), Kpakpando (star) among others, these motifs are significance to the Northern Anambra Igbos. It was observed that the Ijele masquerade is a female masquerade, the head gear seen on the series of Munaonye ga agba egwu (who will dance with me) that emanated from the studio exploration was inspired by the Igbo Isi Nwoji motif. This research created sculptural forms of human beings and animal as they co-existed within the environment, which shows activity of sacrifices, before and after the enactment of the Ijele masquerade performance, a lot of ritual cleansing are done for both the performerand the entire community, and the research also created an outdoor installation sculpture of the Ijele masquerade titled Elegance measuring 6m X 3.4m. The researcher concludes that the Ijele masquerades created by the traditional
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artists are meant for entertainment and for the Igbo to reaffirm their place in the co-existence between them, the ancestors and the gods. The study has also revealed that, the present-day traditional sculptors are no longer commissioned by villagers and individuals to produce masquerade, primarily because of the advent of Christianity and the introduction of Western cosmetics. The research recommends that, for forms to be derived from Ijele masquerade; the motif (Ije Nwa Ugo, Isi Nwoji, Kpakpando, Akara ndu, Ichi na Mbi ezi) can further be explored by researchers, other materials can be incorporated to aid in deriving sculptural forms, as a medium of expression in studio exploration.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Tile Page……………………………………………………………………………………………i Declaration………………………………………………………………………………….……..ii Certification…………………………………………………………………………………….…iii Dedication………………………………………………………………………………….……..iv Acknowledgements………………………………………………………………………………..v Abstract……………………………………………………………………………………….….vii Table of Content…………………………………………………………………………………..ix List of Figures…………………………………………………………………………………….xiii List of Plates…………………………………………………………………………………….xiv Appendix…………………………………………………………………………………………xx Definition of Terms………………………………………………………………………………xxi CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study……………………..…………..…..…………………………………3
1.2 Statement of the problem……………………..………..…………………………………….11
1.3 Aim and Objective of the study……………..……………………………………………..…11
1.4 Research Questions…………………………………………………………………………..12
1.5 Justification of the Study……………………………………………….…………………….12
1.6 Significance of the Study………………………………………..……………………………12
1.7 Scope of the Study……………………………………………………………………………13
1.8 Conceptual Frame work………………………………………………………………………13
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CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW 2.1 Introduction………………………………………………………………………………….15 2.2.1(a) Concept of Universality…………………………………………………………………15 2.2.2 (b) Mask, Masquerade and Igbo Cosmology…………………..…………………………..20 2.2.3 ( c) Types and Classification of Igbo Masquerades………………..………………………29 2.2.4 (d) The secrecy of Masquerade…………………………………………………………….39 2.2.5(e) Ijele as a Symbol of Conceit and Authority to the Northern Anambra Igbo…..………44 2.2.6(f) The Paraphernalia‟s of the Ijele and its Significance…..……………………………….46 2.3 Review of Artists, Artworks Ideas and Philosophy………………………………………….51 2.3.2 Lee Laurie………………………………………………………………………………….52 2.3.3 Emeral Magpie……………………………………………………………………………..54 2.3.4 Ken Okoli…………………………………………………………………………………..56 2.3.5 ChidiOkoye………………………………………………………………………………..58 2.3.6 Godwin Nwajei…………………………………………………………………………….60 2.3.7 Peter Akinwunmi…………………………………………………………………………..62 2.3.8 FranklinEgwali…………………………………………………………………………….64 2.3.9 Bruce Onobrakpeya………………………………………………………….…………….65 2.3.10 OdungideEkpo……………………………………………………………………………67 2.3.11 Rueben Ugbine……………………………………………………………………………68 2.3.12 Philip LexieNzekwe………………………………………………………………………70 2.3.13 LamidiFakeye……………………………………………………………………………71 2.3.14 Cliff Nwanna………………………………………………………………………………74 2.3.15 KunleAdeyemi……………………………………………………………………….…..76
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2.3.16 Suzanne Wenger………………………………………………………………………….77 2.4 Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………79 CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 3.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………..80 3.2 Art Practice – Based Research……………………………………………………………….80 3.3 Reference to Established Artist/Methodology……………………………………………….83 3.3.1 Research Instruments………………………………………………………………………84 3.3.2 Source of Ideas……………………………………………………………………………..84 3.3.3 Procedures………………………………………………………………………………….87 3.3.3.1 Procedures Undertaken During the Studio Exploration………………………………….87 3.3.3.2 Observation………………………………………………………………………………87 3.3.3.3 Photography……………………………………………………………………..……….88 3.3.3.4 Drawings…………………………………………………………………………………91 3.3.3.5 Materials……………………………………………………………………………..…101 3.3.3.6 Fabricated Tools…………………………………………………………………………105 3.3.3.7 Studio Exploration (Welding)………………………………………………….………106 3.3.3.8 Surface Painting…………………………………………………………………………107 3.3.3.9 Cladding……………………………………………………………………………..….107 3.3.3.10 Trimming the edges of the Fabric before Sewing……………………………………..110 3.3.3.11 Sewing and Finishing………………………………………………………………….110 3.3.3.12 Creating holes for ease of sewing……………………………………………………..111 3.3.3.13 Uses of NnganaNnako (Needle and Hook)…………………………………………..113
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3.3.3.14 Prudent in sewing………………………………………………………………………114 3.3.3.15 Weather effect on Fabric, it excess glue is not cleaned……………………………….116 3.3.3.16 Patina Finishing……………………………………………………………………….116 3.3.4.1 Experimental Stage……………………………………………………………………..117 3.3.4.2 Further Studio Exploration……………………………………………………………..117 CHAPTER FOUR: DISCUSSION 4.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………129 4.2 Integrating Uli Symbols on the welded sculpture…………………………………………..131 4.3 Colour and its symbolism in the Ijele masquerade…………………………………………144 4.4 Actualized works and Interpretations………………………………………………………146 CHAPTER FIVE: CURATORIAL STATEMENT 5.1 Introduction…………………………………………………………………………………187 5.2 Catalogue of works…………………………………………………………………………189 5.3 Portfolio…………………………………………………………………………………….190 CHAPTER SIX: SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION 6.1 Summary……………………………………………………………………………………203 6.2 Findings based on the five objectives………………………………………………………205 6.3 Conclusion………………………………………………………………………………….207 6.4 Recommendations…………………………………………………………………………..208 6.5 Contribution to Knowledge…………………………………………………………………209 References………………………………………………………………………………………210

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 Background of the Study The originof the Omambala people is not quite clear. History has it that as a result of Exodus, mass movement of the tribe of Israel, following the instruction from God, which led to the migration from Egyptto various parts of the world. Some of them came to the confluence of Rivers Niger, known as Oma Mbala River. According to 2006 Census, Omambala people were more than four million, and ranked 10th of the 36 states of the federation (Jannah, 2014). Anambra State is an anglicised version of the original Oma Mbala; the native name of the Anambra River. The origin of its name is derived from the Anambra River (Omambala) which is a tributary of the famous River Niger. The capital and the seat of government are at Awka, Onitsha and Nnewi which are the biggest commercial and industrial cities. The indigenous ethnic groups in Anambra state are the Igbos, which forms 89% of the population and a small population of 2% of the Igala, who live mainly at the north-western part of the state. The people of Anambra State share boundaries with Delta State to the West, Imo State and Rivers State to the South, Enugu State to the East and Kogi State to the North. This northern part of the Omambala area is where the Ijele masquerade activity is most popular,(Maduagwu, 2013).Figs. 1 and 2. Olottah (personal communication, March 03, 2015)stated that; “Ijele was originally intended to scare away the early missionaries who came to Igbo Land. The masquerade also is engaged in the celebration of royalty and greatness in Igbo land”.
A dance group called Akunechenyi from Umuleri and Aguleri community in Omambala area started the practice of the Ijele masquerade. The first village in which the dance was introduced was Umuatuolu village of Umueri, followed by IgboenuAguleri, Nsugbe, Nneyi Umueri and Naando. Ijele masquerade activity is popular among the communities of the Omambala area of Anambra State, which comprises; Anaku, Awka, Omor, Nsugbe, Aguleri, Umuleri, Awkuzu, Nteje, Ogbunike,
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Nkwelle-Ezunaka, Umunya, Achalla and other neighbouring communities (Nwa-Ikenga, 2011), (Fig. 2) Nwanna (2007) states that, “the origin of the Ijele is similar to that of most Igbo masquerade, which is still obscure”.Okachi (2015) is of the view that, in ancient times about fouty-five masquerades performed ontop of the Ijele masquerade. According to Nwa-Ikenga (2011), during any Ijele performance, seven cannon gunshots are released in the air before and after the entertainments. In some Igbo land, communities that have the Ijele masquerade believe it connotes admiration, worship, awe, veneration, astonishment, amazement and devotion fit for royalty. Ijele has its special music and dance popularly known as IgbaIjele (drums of Ijele) used for musical accompaniment when it is performing. Its musical instruments include four different sizes of drums, metal gong (Ogene), long drum (Ubom), Rattle (Uyo), wooden gong (Ekwe), and flute (Oja) among others. Nwa-Ikenga (2011) states that, “Ijele comprises a family of five; Mother (NneIjele), Father (NnaIjele), Police man (Onyeuweojii), Palm wine tapper (Otenkwu) and fan carrier (IjeleAkupe). Nwanna (2007) supports that, “the Ijele is usually accompanied by other masquerades agbogho-mmonwu (maiden spirit) and masquerades in police costume that clear the way for the Ijele and act as a harbinger heralding the coming of the Ijele”. Ijele in Igbo land is seen as a metaphysical entity endowed with physical form and multiple meanings. Aniakor (1978), Robinson (2010), and Nwa-Ikenga (2011) are of the view that, the Ijele masquerade is decorated with figurine depictions of the everyday aspect of human life. Three main categories dominate the masquerade‟s design: human and their daily activities; the spirit world; animals and forestry. Nwanna (2007), Ogbechie (2009), Nwa-Ikenga (2011) Mbanaja (2012), and Okachi (2015)posit that the Ijele comprises of two segments: the upper and lower segments divided at the center by a big python.
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The upper part or the headdress is called (MkpuIjele). It contains depictions of important moments in life; images of women in labour, and men climbing fruit trees are placed besides critical political experiences, while the lower segment is called (AkapkwuruIjele)or (Ogbanibe) expressed in the myriad of colours of velvet materials with dominant colours of red, yellow, green and black. Ijele‟s reflective mirror creates beauty. This mysterious mirror is belived to have the magical power to detect anyone with charm or destructive weapon.The mirror represents royalty and might. To the Igbo, it also captures the saying „I wish you what you wish me‟ meaning that when one looks in the mirror, what one sees is a reflection of him or herself. The center of Ijele is called Eke-Ogba (Python) representing the earth goddess, Ala, the soul of Pan Igbo deity. In the past, it took about one hundred artists and their assistants to work for six months continuously in preparing the Ijele costumes before the performance. Presently, it can take one traditional artist a period of one to four months to produce the Ijele masquerade because of technological advancement.Most part of the Ijele‟s costum is made up of textile materials. Before the invention of sewing mathchins, the act of sewing was done manually, at present, the use of matchines has helped in speeding up the processes of sewing. A large Ijele will be done by six skilled artists for about two months, working for about six hours per day and seven days a week (Nwanna, 2007). Ijele only appears once every four years to commemorate harvest and execptionally at the death of a Chief, and can also perform once a year at an Ofala festival of any Igbo community king who has the financial capability to own an Ijele masquerade. In summary to all that is described of the Ijele masquerade by various scholars, one can say that Ijele is a collection of love poetry with its forms, motifs, and movement. Ijele is like all the poems written by poets, in a particular language and subject which are compiled into one singul form. It is rich in assorted forms, colours, and myth.
A masquerade is a tool for uniting people with a sense of pride and social and historical continuity. It is believed that masquerading narrates cultural cosmology and produces visual and verbal narratives of cultural identity (Ogbechie, 2009).
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Masquerades are sent from the spirit world through an ant hole to interact with human beings (Enekwe, 1987). In the early times during the slave trade, masquerades were used for intimidation, to scare people, catch and sell them into slavery. Presently they are portrayed as dead men that came back to life. They play, dance and make fun. They tell stories of what happened in the spirit world and spoke with the harsh voice and people admired masquerade activities (Ejiofor, 1984). According to Urama (2012), masquerade sees human life as the highest value in the perception of reality and does everything possible for life to be enjoyed on earth, which fosters the relationship between human beings, the society and ancestors. Okoye (2007) states that, Apart from masquerades being performers, they are unarguably the most popular form of communal cultural expression. They are figured as ancestral characters who presumably take on physical forms on the invitation of the community to participate in important communal ceremonies or perform specific social or religious roles. The traditional Igbo masquerade deploys postcolonial discursive strategies as mimicry, allegory, parody, ridicule and translation in its engagement with colonialism. Masquerades serve as visible expressions of spiritual force and authority that validate the beliefs of society, and reinforce acceptable social modes of conduct. They also symbolise the spiritual power that eradicates social evils. Igbo people believe that, spirits are capable of animating any material object; the masquerade has been a vehicle for the manifestation of the dead and other supernatural forces, including nature spirits and deities, as well as idols created by the imagination and reinforced using ritual and magic (Seleh, 2010). Artists in the contemporary time, explore the use of the masquerade as a concept in creating artworks. Contemporary artists are seen to borrow from traditional elements. Ogbechie (2009) also suggests that, “it might be more useful to consider all contemporary engagements with indigenous cultures as forms of appropriation that adapt cultural concepts, signs, and symbols. Contemporary African art appropriates indigenous traditions of visual culture in its search for significant ways”.
Stokstad (2008) states that, “in searching for ways to express an African identity in art, some of these artists draw inspiration from indigenous traditions” Most contemporary works have a clear relationship
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to traditional African folklore, belief systems and imagery. Nwanna (2010) supports the above submission that, “African art contains elements of traditional art; thereby establishing continuity from traditional to contemporary”. Filani (2013) confirms the above statement that, “African contemporary artists now engage and experiment with unconventional materials known as new media, including installation, performance, video art and other formats” In the words of Frank (2008), “most artists are experimenting with modern styles as they search for new ways to express their roots. Modern African sculptures are seen to reflect both the preservation of local sculptural traditions and the introduction of styles, and techniques from outside the continent”. It is possible to see the evidence of borrowing of ideas infused into the created works of art, and there is the manifestation of creativity whereby the artist produces something new and distinctive within the range of forms and patterns which become a part of the innovation in the design (Bascom and Herskovits, 1959). African mask was first recognised by Europeans as art in 1905 as well as its aesthetic value, and thereafter became worthy of scholarly attention, and its timeless quality became noticeable to the world at learge (Adams, 2007). According to Aronson (1991), it attracted and inspired the Western artists, like Pablo Picasso, when he paid a visit to his friend Amedeo Clemente Modigliani and saw the Congo mask displayed on his wall. This mask encountered by Picasso, inspired the development of cubism in art. It also inspired other artists like Andre Derain, Georges Braque, and Henri Matisse. African artists who have equally explored the use of the mask as a source of inspiration are; Ben Enweonwu, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Kunle Adeyemi, Ken Okoli, Peter Akinwumi, among others.
In understanding aesthetic issues properly in sculpture, more traditional values need to be considered like the Ijele masquerade of Anambra State. Ijele is an embodiment of philosophy, general life experience and value attached to the Anambra Igbo. This is visible and evident in its complex nature. Ogbechie (2009) writes, “Ijele masquerade possesses forms and conceptual ideas which if analysed and transformed could enhance appreciation of aesthetics in the expanded adventures of post-modernist sculpture.”
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To further buttress the need to use the Ijele masquerade as a source of inspiration to create sculpture, Ikuemesi (2000) believes that,most part of Igbo land were reduced to ruin because of the Nigeria-Biafra civil war of 1967 – 1970, and moreso, the influx of western way of life (Christianity) threatenedthe contined existence of the foundation of Igbo art and tradition. Nwosu (2014)states that, “Ijele masquerade is known as the biggest masquerade in South Sahara Africa, it is a unique intangible heritage that belongs to the Igbo people of Nigeria and was listed in the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) archive as Intangible Cultural Element in need of urgent safeguarding”.Thus, the Ijele masquerade can be manipulated and used as a source of inspiration in creating sculptures and for posterity. This resrarch looks at two Ijele sculptural installations created by two different artists. One by Nweke Kogulu titled “Ijele masquerade” displayed at the 1984 Exhibition “Igbo Art Community and Cosmos” organised by the Fowler university of Calofonia (UCLA) Museum of Cultural History, Los Angeles, USA and the other by Micheal Chukwukelu titled “Igbo Ijele masquerade” displayed at the Museum of cultura History Oslo, France in 1989. This forms the basis on which this research draws inspiration from the Ijele masquerade forms (Figs: 2 and 3).
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Fig. 3: Igbo Ijele Masquerade I, Nweke Kogulu.Mixed media, 3.66m, high Source:http://ukpuru.tumblr.com/post/ijele-under-construction-by-nweke-kogulu-and-three.1984 Museum of Cultural History.
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Fig. 4: Igbo Ijele Masquedare II. Michael Chukwukelu, Mixed media. 4.30 m high.
Source:Museum of Cultural History Oslo France 1989.
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1.2 Statement of the Problem The problem of this study is that Ijele masquerade is not like other masquerade because of its unique nature and accumulation which comprises of the interpretation of the Anambra Igbo philosophy world view, represented in sculptural forms and uli motif design, this also includes the way it moves and glides, coupled with the activity that is happening around it. Scholars have written on the Ijele masquerade, but non of these scholars have attempted to isolate the activities happening around the Ijele masquerade. The ability to undertake the studio art based-practice research is unique in its nature, compared to other deciplines like Art history, Art education, Textile design, Ceramics amongothers, despite the fact that they both under take the same qualitative research methodology thus, exploring the possibility to deconstruct the forms found on the Ijelemasquerade is challenging because of its tedious nature. 13. Aim and Objectives of the Study The aim of this study is to create sculptural forms that are inspired by the Ijele masquerade, while the objectives are to:
i. identify and produce sculptural relief elements of the Ijele masquerade;
ii. extract various sculptural forms cladded with coloured fabrics inspired by the Ijele masquerade;
iii. create female forms from the Ijele masquerade;
iv. explore the possibilities of producing female and animal forms as they co-exist within the natural environment,extracted from the Ijele masquerade;
v. create an outdoor installation sculpture, that is a culmination of all the basic forms extracted from the Ijele masquerade.
14. Research Questions
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Pertinent questions to the research are as follows:
i. what are the possibilities of producing, sculptural relief elements of the Ijele masquerade?
ii. How can the various forms of the Ijele sculptures be extracted and cladded with coloured fabrics?
iii. what is the possibility of creating female forms from the Ijele masquerade? iv. In what ways can sculpture be obtained from the Ijele masquerade using the female and animal forms as they co-exist within the natural environment? v. What are the possibilities of creating an outdoor installation sculpture that represents a culmination of all the necessary forms extracted from the Ijele masquerade? 15. Justification of the Study The Ijele sculptures rendered in three dimensions by the traditional artists appears to be rigid and clustered. The research creates sculptures that posseses the qualitie of (naturalism and abstraction) modern and contemporary art style, which is lacking in the sculptures that are seen on the Ijele masquerade. The Igbo uli motif symbols rendered at the lower section of the Ijele masquerade, are usually illustrated in two dimensional forms, the research re-creates uli motif in three dimensional sculptural forms, for cultural preservation. Ijele is threatened by extinction because of the dominance of Christianity over African traditional religious practice, which has led to a decline in the initiation into masquerade cults. Consequently, it becomes imperative that Ijele sculptural forms be documented for posterity. 16. Significance of the Study
This study is significant because it creates sculptural forms which are inspired by the Ijele masquerade that provides new innovative ideas that open the frontiers of exploration in creating art. This study creates sculpture installations through art practice, which provide the viewer with new insight into the
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traditional Ijele masquerade performance. This study also serves as a reference point for museums, archaeologists and historians. The other beneficiaries include government ministries, tertiary institutions, art educationists and students of art. 17. Scope of the Study In this study, the scope is focused on creating sculptures inspired by the Ijele masquerade, popular among the Igbo people of the Northern part of Anambra State, using mild steel rods, and fabrics. 18. Conceptual Framework This research is guided by the theory of Hans-George Gadamer (1900-2002) and the philosophy of the Natural synthesis (the idea of borrowing from traditional elements and concepts to be infused into formal art). Gadamer in Weinsheimer and Marshall (2006) emphasises that, “to think historically always involves mediating between those ideas and one‟s thinking. Tradition or what is handed down from the past confronts as a task. It requires active questioning and self-questioning, interpreting it means precisely to bring one‟s perceptions into play”. The Ijele sculpture is created by considering its cultural context for proper understanding. In the words of Cordwell (1959) “African art forms are discussed regarding their cultural setting and the dynamics of change expressed in the creativity of the makers”. This means that some of these art forms which range from household utensils to masking should be properly evaluated from the background where the created works emerge.
Natural synthesis came to limelight at the time Nigeria was to attain independence, and there was a new spirit of awareness and the awakened sense of nationalism in response to Negritude. Artists during this period responded to a new challenge of artistic expression which helped to inspire nationalistic ideals. The theory of Natural synthesis was propagated by a group of young artists called the Zaria Rebels, and formally known as the Zaria Art Society, formed in 1958. This occurred at the then Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology (NCAST) Zaria, now Department of Fine Arts,
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Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; with the primary purpose of reconsidering the legacy of early modern Nigerian artists. They desired to explore new techniques and ideas to preserve and transform Nigerian traditions and legacy. According to Grillo (2008), The fire of nationalism was at its, height, and it was only natural that artists and art students of those times began to re-examine themselves against the new consciousness of people shaking off the shackles of colonisation. Most of us were learning about the great revolutionary movements in art history then; movements like impressionism, cubism, surrealism, etc. and the natural urge in all truly committed students was to search for our true identity through diligent, sincere, visual statement of our thoughts, experiences, emotions and influences. Natural synthesis merged the best of the indigenous art traditions, forms and ideas with theWestern concepts. Their paintings and sculptures incorporated cosmology, folklore and traditional philosophy, together with depictions of everyday life and culture. Its members include; Yusuf Grillo, Simon Okeke, William Olaosebikan, Uche Okeke, Bruce Onobrakpeya, Demas Nwoko, Oseloka Osadebe, Okechukwu Odita, Felix Ekeada, Ogbonaya Nwagbara and I. M Omagie. After the students graduated in 1961, the group dispersed, and this played an important part in the disseminating of their ideals. Many of them went to teach in other art schools where the concept of natural synthesis continued to flourish (Oshinowo, 2008). According to Pruitt (1999), “they promoted ideologies which channelled their artistic energy into defining their „Africanness‟ as well as those which assisted in acknowledging their African ancestral legacy.”

 

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