Creation of Play Sculptures Using Gourd Fruit Forms.
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.
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.
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