Monday, September 24, 2012

Sculpture in Nigeria

The practice of sculpture in Nigeria is more popular in the traditional sense than in the academic or modern sense because here, it is mainly the traditional wood carver, and also the traditional bronze casters of, especially Benin that still hold sway. Most of these of course fall under the category of religious, cult or tourism art. Much of the tourism sculptures are visible around the five star hotels that dot the landscapes of the major cities. Some of the popular items in this category of popular art include wood, ivory and metal sculptures. Academic sculpture is still to be given its pride of place by the authorities, and patronage is still at its low
ebb. It is however in the academic circles that academic art and sculpture is being exalted and propagated. This practice is however complemented by some of the exhibitions that are privately staged here and there from time to time as well as the activities of a few interior decorators that simply just live up to their name as decorators, that is. But in terms of public commissions, only a few important sculptures have been seen to be publicly commissioned or erected year in year out. We still look forward to greater improvements, and attaining the ideal which recognises that in the design or proposals for public buildings, due provisions should be made so as to incorporate artistic embellishments such as sculptures in the round, permanent installations, assemblages, and also ‘functional’ sculptures for instance as built into parks and gardens. Thus these are supposed to be so integrated as part and parcel of the overall projects. This has hardly been the case in Nigeria. Thus the government is yet to see reasons to institute endowments for the arts as is done in more civilised climes. The popular mediums or techniques so far employed in Nigeria are usually in the range of concrete, metal, marble, fibreglass, wood, etc. Some important artists of this genre however could be just to mention a few: Yusuf Grillo, Abayomi Barber, Ben Ekanem, Ben Enwonwu, Ndidi Dike, Olu Amoda, Matthew Ehizele, El Anatsui, etc. Morgan Chima Nwanguma

All in Your Eyes