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ABSTRACT

 

The gourd fruit (Calabash) is a cultural symbol in Nigeria It is also a decorative item, local musical instrument and even used as kitchen utensil. The gourd fruit form might have been used as a public sculpture to either reflect or symbolize some cultures in Nigeria, but not as yet considered to equally serve as a play sculpture. Cultural objects of this kind are rear items to young Nigerians especially in the urban areas in Nigeria. Not many people are familiar with it. They are rather more familiar with the foreign objects they see around them, particularly in their school playgrounds where they play. Reason could be due to the dependence of foreign play forms or creation of conventional play forms that are not characterized with themes that promote the cultures in Nigeria. As a result, the tendency for the lack of appreciation of Nigeria‟s cultural elements or cultural symbols by young Nigerians is likely to become prevalent. The aim of the study is to produce marquette for play sculptures with Nigerian indigenous elements derived from the three gourd fruit form (Shantu, Ludayi and Gora). The objectives are to; (i) produce static play sculptures derived from the gourd fruit form (ii) create mobile play sculptures derived from the gourd fruit form (iii) use gourd fruit forms to produce play sculptures in abstract form. The method employed for this research is the Practice-Based Research. It was observed through the findings that gourd fruit forms can be transformed into the creation of play sculptures in various ways and these include the static, the mobile and the abstract play sculptures. Deriving from the inherent features of the Ludayi, Shantu and Gora gourd fruit forms, it also reveals how it is possible to produce a variety of functional large sized play sculptures which can serve as a symbol of cultural identity for the citizens of Nigeria.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title Page…………………………………………………………………………………………i
Fly Leaf…………………………………………………………………………………………..ii
Title Page ………………………………………………………………………………………….iii
Declaration ………………………………………………………………………………………iv
Certification ……………………………………………………………………………………. .v
Dedication……….……………………………………………………………………………….vi
Acknowledgement……………………………………………………………………………….vii
Abstract..……….……………………………………………………………………….………..viii
Table of Contents………………………………………………………………………………..vix
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 Background of the Study ……………………………………………………………..1
1.2 Statement of the Problem ………….…………………………………………………4
1.3 Aim of the Study and objectives of the study………………………………………..5
1.4 Research question………………….…………………………………………………5
1.5 Justification of the Study….…………………………………………………………..5
1.6 Scope of the Study …….……………………………………………………………..6
1.7 Conceptual Framework……………………………………………………………….6
CHAPTER TWO: LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1 Introduction ………………………………………………………………………….8
2.2 Review of Related Literature………………………………………………………….8
2.2.1 Playground………………..…………………………………………………………..8
2.2.2 The Gourd (Calabash Family) ..…..…….…………………………………………….10
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2.2.3 Play Sculpture as a Symbol of Identity ………………………………………………12
2.3.1 Review of Related Works……………………………..……………………….……15
2.3.2 Playground in Chiang Deo, Thailand.,.……………………………………………..16
2.3.3 „Let‟s Play‟…….………..….………………………………………………………..16
2.3.4 „Abacus‟……………………………………………………………………………..18
2.3.5 „Spoons‟……………………………………………………………………………..19
2.3.6 „Dakin Kara‟……………………………………………….…………………………20
2.3.7 „Play Hill‟………………………………………………………………………………21
2.3.8 „The Giant Foot‟……….…….…………………………………………………….23
2.3.9 Deductions………………………………………………………………………….24
CHAPTER THREE: METHODOLOGY
3.1Introduction………….……………………………………………………………. ……25
3.2 Research Method….…………………………………………………………………….25
3.3Data Collection………… ………………………………………………………………..26
3.4 Materials and Tools………………………………………………………………………26
3.5 Instruments of Data Collection…………………………………………………………..27
3.6 Studio Exploration……………………………………………………………………….36
CHAPTER FOUR: CATALOGUE AND ANALYSIS OF WORKS
4.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………40
4.2 Ludayi Slide I..………………………………………………………………………41
4.3 Ludayi Slide II…………………………….……………………………………….. 42
4.4 Hanchin Gora…………………………………….…………………………………..43
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4.5 Yanchi………….……………………………………….………………………….44
4.6 Jirgin Shantu….…………………………………………………………….……..45
4.7 Hippo………….…………………………………………………….……..…… 46
4.8 New Snowman.……………………………………………….….………………47
4.9 Lilo I, II, III……………………………………………….…………….…..……..48
4.10 Filin Tsale……………………………………………………….…….………….50
4.11 Suwe………….…………………………………………….………….…………..51
4.12 Calabash Rainbow..…………………………………….…………………………..52
4.13 Kunnama…………..………………………………………….…………………..53
4.14 Kan Giwa………………………………………………………….………………..53
4.15 Lilo………………………………………………………………………………..54
CHAPTER FIVE: FINDINGS, SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
5.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………………………56
5.2 Findings………………………………..……………………………………………..56
5.3 Summary and Conclusion..………………………………………………………….57
5.4 Recommendation……………………………………………………………………..59
5.5 Contribution to Knowledge………………………………………………………….59
REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………….62
LIST OF FIGURES AND PLATES
Fig.1 Gourd Carver at Work……………………………………………………………10
Fig.2 Playground in Chiang Deo, Thailand (2012)…………………………………….16
Fig.3 „Let‟s Play‟ (2006)………………………………………………………………16
Fig.4 „Abacus‟ (2014)…………………………………………………………………18
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Fig.5 „Spoons‟ (1975)………………………………………………………………. 20
Fig.6 „Dakin Kara‟ (2016)…………………………………………………………….21
Fig.7 „Play Hill‟ (2005)……………………………………………………………….22
Fig.8 „The Giant Foot‟ (1988)…………………………………………………………23
Plate I. A Collection of the Selected Gourd Fruits…………………………………….27
Plate II. A Collection of Shantu……………………………………………………….28
Plate III. A Collection of Ludayi……………………………………………………….28
Plate IV. A Collection of Gora………………………………………………………..28
Plate V. Ludayi- Slide I……………………………………………………………….30
Plate VI. Ludayi- Slide II…………………………………………………………….30
Plate VII. Hanchin Gora………………………………………………………………….31 Plate VIII. Lilo III……………………………………………………………………..31 Plate XI. Lilo I…………………………………………………………………………32 Plate X. Yanchi…………………………………………………………………………….32 Plate XI. Jirgin Shantu……………………………………………………………………33 Plate XII. Suwe………………………………………………………………………..33 Plate XIII. Kan Giwa………………………………………………………………….34 Plate XIV. Kunnnama……………………………………………………………………..34 Plate XV. Filin Tsale…………………………………………………………………35 Plate XVI. Lilo II………………………………………………………………………35 Plate XVII. Washing the Gourds……………………………………………………..36 Plate XVIII. Cutting the Gourds………………………………………………………36
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Plate XIX. Brushing the Gourds………………………………………………………37 Plate XX. Washing a Burnt Gourd…………………………………………………….37 Plate XXI. Smoothening the Gourd…………………………………………………..38 Plate XXII. Joining the Gourds………………………………………………………38 Plate XXIII. Decorating Stage………………………………………………………..39 Plate XXIV. Finishing Stage………………………………………………………….39 Plate XXV. Ludayi Slide I, (Front View)……………………………………………..41 Plate XXVI. Ludayi Slide I, (Back View)…………………………………………….41 Plate XXVII. Ludayi Slide II, (Front View)…………………………………………..42

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction
1.1 Background of the Study
It is said that all work without play makes Jack a dull boy. A child learns fast through playing. Play develops the child‟s psychomotor, cognitive and emotional activity and sense of developmental ability to be creative. As opined by Kellock (2015) “through play, children develop the neurological building blocks essential to further learning and growth. They form connections, build social and emotional skills, and develop positive long-term attitudes to discovery”. The author affirms that “play is not an alternative to learning; it is not a diversion from learning. Rather, it provides the foundation for learning and has an important role in shaping a child‟s capacity for, and towards subsequent learning”. In spite of this, it appears there are many schools and homes in urban and rural areas across Nigeria without or with only a few play forms. Reasons for this could be financial constraint, ignorance or sheer negligence on the negative effect it has on the growth of a child.
People generally respond or relate easily with objects they are familiar with. Eyal (2015) states that “people don‟t want something new, they want the familiar done differently”. However, it appears as if the few play grounds in Nigerian schools, homes and recreational centres mostly have play forms created with foreign materials and designs or imported from outside the country, having the type of objects that Nigerian children are not familiar with because they are not found in their environment. As a result, it becomes difficult for them to know about their own cultural elements like the traditional
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architecture and motifs, indigenous crafts which include local works in bronze casting, wood and ivory carving, leather works, weaving, tie and dye, pottery, calabash decoration and so on.
The questions posed here are; if the opinion of Kellock on learning as earlier mentioned is factual, then how could it be made possible for Nigerian children to learn about the indigenous objects in their environment while they play? Should Nigerian sculptors not be encouraged to explore the creation of play sculptures that are characterised with Nigeria‟s cultural elements as part and parcel of their play sculpture designs? Could the creation of such play sculptures be beneficial to Nigerian sculptors and the society at large?
It could be observed that only few Nigerian sculptors have in the past produced play sculptures that are characterised with local features that could easily be recognised by Nigerians. The effort made by these sculptors can perhaps be attributed to their yearning to localise the creation of play sculptures that are entirely different from that of the foreign. Such sculptors include Salihu Sulaiman with the sculpture titled Giraffe executed in (1968), El Enatsui‟s sculpture titled Mask (1981), Adedoyin Ogundipe (1988), with sculpture titled The Giant Foot, and John Obande‟s Play Hill (2015). Despite the play sculptures created by these sculptors, it appears more needs to be done. Whereas, Beire in Badaru and Ogunsina (2014) affirms that “Nigeria‟s greatest contribution to the world culture so far has been its traditional art” The author further states that “the influence of this art has been so strong that it caused something like a cultural revolution in Europe”. In the same line, Irivwieri (2009) further confirms that “Europeans appreciate indigenous craft objects using some items in their homes and buying others as presents for friends
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and relatives”. Kashim (2013) also states that “crafts are symbols of Nigerian material culture and spiritual heritage”.
It is then apparent, that these opinions be considered with high regard due to their relevance. Presently, it is also possible to note that, children in modern schools and homes especially, the urban areas in Nigeria, are unable to identify with Nigeria‟s cultural elements which embraces local crafts like blacksmithing, bronze casting, wood carving, leather works, weaving, tie and dye, pottery, calabash decoration and so on. The researcher in her undergraduate final year project used discarded tires, which is an industrial medium, produced a play sculpture titled Let’s Play. However, considering the statements put up by Kashim and the other authors mentioned earlier, the researcher intends to use gourd fruit forms, one of Nigeria‟s local utility craft items to produce play sculptures. With the present dispensation of unconventional art materials and mixed media, such materials can be a source and a concept for transforming these materials into functional play sculptures. Smith (2014) opines that “there is much art in the creation of vibrant public play spaces; their aesthetics, their physicality and their spacial rendering push mind and body to new imaginative experiences”. Unlike other conventional play forms, this play sculpture is derived from a domestic utilitarian object commonly known as calabash. Not only is it going to be used for play, the local craft form is equally meant to serve as an object for youngsters to identify and familiarize with their cultural indigenous objects which will enhance their knowledge about the diversity of Nigerian culture in this modern era. The gourd fruit family is also feared to be going extinct. It has been threatened by western influence. Commenting on calabash carving in Nigeria and in northern Nigeria in particular, Konan (1974) posits,
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….in spite of these many ways in which calabashes are currently used in northern Nigeria, it seems likely that fewer and fewer will be seen as the years go by. In Nigeria, as in other places where gourds have flourished, the arrival of Westerners brought containers made from metal, glass and plastics. Today these materials seriously challenge the role of the calabash.
A group of gourd carvers in Nigeria however expressed their hope as affirmed by Eakin (2008) that “in the next three to five years, modern items will no longer become fashionable because they are seasonal. People will go back to using traditional items like the calabash. In the nearest future, it will definitely pick up again. It is a tradition that cannot be ignored”. If Nigerian sculptors and Nigerians in general should share the same view, then Nigerian children should equally not be left to lose sight of the gourd fruit. As one of Nigeria‟s cultural elements, it should be ensured that the younger citizens should be exposed to using these items in different forms by creating play sculptures derived from the gourd fruit form. These factors among others are the driving force that prompts the researcher‟s keen interest to produce marquettes and a functional play sculpture derived from gourd fruit forms.
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
Despite the fact that several craft works have been executed with the calabash for both decorative and utilitarian purposes. The researcher considers the works previously done with the calabash form as undermining the use of the media for other purposes such as creating play sculptures. The problem of this research therefore is hinged on the exploration of gourd forms as maquettes for the creation of play sculptures.
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1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study
The aim of the study is to produce marquette for play sculptures with Nigerian indigenous elements derived from the gourd fruit form, while the objectives are to:
I. produce static play sculptures derived from the gourd fruit form.
II. create moveable play sculptures derived from the gourd fruit form.
III. use gourd fruit forms to produce play sculptures in abstract form.
1.4 Research Questions
I. How can the gourd fruit form be employed to produce static play sculptures?
II. In what ways can mobile play sculptures be created with the gourd fruit form?
III. What are the possibilities that the gourd fruit form be used to produce play sculptures in abstract form?
1.5 Justification of the Study
The justification of the study is the emphasis of creating functional play sculptures that promote the values and relevance of Nigeria‟s cultural elements for her young citizens, which can be cost effective and encourage self reliance. Egonwa in Lamidi (2015) opines that “in the 21st century A.D, the visual art must now be studied as a reflection of culture and as something that has cultural efficacy, reproduction and mutation of culture”. Nigeria is in need for foreign exchange, it will be rather suicidal to continue to rely on imported items where we can improvise. This is a way of looking inward for the purpose of developing the nation in terms of development of indigenous play sculptures in contemporary application. According to Olorukoba in Ada (2006) “innovations are required in all areas of Nigerian society, if actually the country needs progress” and urged
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researchers to consider this as one of the serious challenges of their time so as to move the nation forward in the face of modern development.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The three objects selected to produce play sculptures are the long narrow cone gourd called Shantu, the gourd spoon called ludayi, and the bottle or shaker gourd called Gora in Hausa language.These were picked from the abundant cultural elements that are locally identified within the Nigerian cultures and natural environment. These items are limited to the lageneria species in the gourd family. They are further known as Lageneria Siceraria (Molina). Sweetser (2016) gives a description of the characteristic features and uses from which these three indigenous utility, craft and musical instruments belonging to the lageneria gourd family is found.
Lagenaria siceraria is a name that means drinking vessel since that is one of the many uses of these large, hard-shelled gourds. Speckled swan gourds, bottle gourds, dipper gourds, penguin or powderhorn gourds, and even one called caveman‟s club are all Lagenarias. Hard-shelled gourds have been grown for over five thousand years for use as containers and utensils, and the immature gourds are edible.
The gourd fruit play sculptures will be produced as marquettes, from which one of the marquettes will be blown up into a functional life sized play sculpture using suitable permanent materials like metal, concrete, fibre glass or mixed media.
1.7 Conceptual Framework
The conceptual framework of this research is derived from Marcus Veerman‟s idea of play ground. Veerman is an advocate of ground-up development, educating and empowering locals to create their own playgrounds, rather than telling them what they
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need or importing western designs. This means that each play ground is customised to suit the environment, community or school as the case may be. Veerman (2010) opines that “play and space for play, are not simply side issues in education, but are core in fostering a child‟s natural way of learning cognitive, social and emotional skills”. Also, commenting on a playground project in New Guinea, Veerman‟s organisation and a group of researchers, Simoncini, Manson and Kingston (2015) states that “the researchers work with students, teachers and parents to ensure the playground reflects community ideas and attributes”. With this in mind, the researcher sought to produce play sculptures derived from cultural forms that are suitable for Nigerian children, easy to identify and play with. Hence, play sculptures will be created to reveal items like local musical instruments, cooking utensils, which are inspired from the gourd fruit also known as the calabash.
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