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The modern artist is in constant search of access to improve technology that makes possible the use of foreign medium, tools and devices as a result of constant demand of our growing society. This new trend has drastically shifted the focus of most African artists who clamour for the aesthetics and to ‘what is selling now syndrome’. Ikwuemesi (n.d.) concur with this view as he says “In the aftermath of post-modernism when it remained fashionable for artists to return to their roots and history in search of an identity Nigerian art, like much of other African art, has become very eclectic”. The researcher is influenced by the earthiness and spontaneity of some African art media. And if you look back, you will understand that since the emergence of cubism, the Europeans have always look to Africa for something novel. This research work titled: Development of Sculpture with Organic Forms: an Exploration with Calabash for the Exterior space, is not intended to introduce a new medium that could compete or substitute stone, steel or marble in terms of durability. It is however an exploration with organic medium to stretch its limit as to be placed out door. Let us not be deceived, nothing is actually permanent, rather great ideas attached to the most mundane of medium possesses the tendency to outlive the generation of its maker.

This research work provides in print, the experience of the several processes the researcher undertook both in and out of the studio in a bid to establish calabash as a viable medium for sculpture that can survive outdoor.


Title Page
Table of Content

CHAPTER ONE (Introduction)
1.1       Background of the Study
1.2       Statement of the Problem
1.3       Objectives of the Study
1.4       Limitation
1.5       Significance of the Study

Literature Review



Myths and Fables Around the Calabash

Calabash as a Creative Resource




1.1 Background of the Study

Most natural objects have organic shapes because they reflect the free-flowing aspects of precise species and hence their irregular shapes. Some characteristics that help us to appreciate the shapes and forms such as surface, weight and mass, material composition and position in space add to our experiences and heighten our visual pleasure. When we draw or construct shapes, we need to understand how to interpret qualities such as lightness or heaviness. There is a striking difference in the quality or value contrast between rendering a cloud and rendering a rock or a mountain form. While the former has subtle flow and diffused edge, the latter is described with sharp surface quality, coarse and edgy structure.
The surface and shape of the calabash are two of many qualities that not only inform but also delight the eye. Visually experiencing smooth textured surface is often linked with past tactile encounters with the human skin. For the sightless, the tactile experience translates important impressions from fingers to brain. Both eyes and fingers can move easily across glass, finished wood, polished metal or processed gourd. However, some natural medium can be transformed into eerie or surrealistic forms by changing their texture or juxtaposition their various forms. Invariably, our psychological responses are heightened by seeing such unusual effect where shapes or forms are positioned in space to generate a force or create a feeling of repose and stability, visual strength or action.

Nature, with its almost unlimited supply of forms, is a great source of design. It has always been a primary stimulus for artist and the calabash being an object of nature, could perhaps be an interesting medium for the researcher to begin.

In fact, there is no household item that is so responsive to human need as did the calabash in the ancient time. Its multiple functions to different people have not only made it common to all cultures but also popular. The etymology of the word came from sources that are quite equivocal. One came from Spanish ‘Calabaza, another, possibly from Arabic Car’ayabisa dry gourd or from Persian “Kharabuz, used for various large melons; or from pre-Roman Iberian Calapacia.’ When people of temperate regions used the word calabash they are referring usually to the fruit of the calabash gourd. Or bottle gourd, Legenaria Siceraria (Legenaria Vulgaris) an annual vine of the


According to Bailey (1956) ‘The original species of Legeneria Siceraria is probably from tropical Africa and eastern India. The Gourd families which include vine species that may exceed 700, with at least 100 different genera, are actually primordial.”

Morton (1957) adds that ‘the variously shaped and multi-coloured fruits of this species, dried and often varnished are usually utilitarian or familiar as decorations”. While some use the calabash as bird houses, food conservers, dippers or ladles and musical instruments and so on, others see it as sacred.

Another variety of the hard-shelled fruit is the crescentia cujete or crescentia alata, popular as the calabash tree. Wayne’s Word (1996) acknowledged that ‘there are two species of calabash.....

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