Visual Art Paper 1, Nov/Dec. 2011  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Main
General Comments
Question 6

Outline five characteristics of traditional West African sculpture.



Majority of the candidates attempted this question, but only a very few were able to give the required responses.  Instead of focusing on traditional West African sculpture, most candidates elaborated traditional West African art in general. While some were talking about weaving, others were talking about pottery, which are completely out of the scope of the requirements of the question. However, few of the candidates performed creditably, but those who deviated and some who could not present their ideas logically lost obtainable marks.

Candidates were expected to respond to the question thus:

Characteristics of traditional West African sculpture

  •    They were mostly executed in wood, but other media like bronze, brass, ivory and clay were also used.
  •    The head is usually bigger because of the belief in the head as the seat
  •    of wisdom.
  •    Styles vary from naturalistic to abstract.
  •    The head is usually oblong.
  •    Eyes are usually bulging, conical or spherical.
  •    They have pouting lips.
  •    The breast is usually pointed and exaggerated.
  •    The buttocks and genitals are emphasized because of their importance in terms of fertility.
  •    They are usually in static pose, devoid of movement.
  •    Some figures have scarification.
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