Visual Art Paper 1 ,May/June 2012  
Questions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Main
General Comments




  1. Write notes on any three of the following art forms

    1. The Nomoli figures;
    2. Bundu masks;
    3. The Minsereh;
    4. Igbo Ukwu Bronze pots.



The few candidates that attempted this question concentrated only on the Igbo-Ukwu bronze pots, which originated in Nigeria. They wrongly neglected other art forms which belong to other West African societies and this undoubtedly made them lose most of the obtainable marks. Their responses were expected to be as follows:

(a)        Nomoli Figures

                        -           they are found among the Mende tribe in Sierra-Leone.
                        -           they are carved out of soapstone.
                        -           they are used for fertility to enable bountiful harvest.
-           they are kept in rice fields to protect the crops.
-           figures are beaten when they fail to perform the intended functions effectively.
-           they are praised with sacrifice when there is good harvest.
-           arms are folded and resting on the chest.
-           the two knees are positioned to support the hands.
-           the figures have expressive faces.
-           big head with two protruding eyes, inflated nostril and thick lips.

 (b)       Bundu Masks

                        -           found among the Sande Society of Mende in Sierra-Leone.
-           it is a form of helmet worn over the entire head.
-           they are used during the female initiation ceremony.
                        -           they are made in wood.
                        -           they are of an average height of 38 centimetres.
                        -           the hair is arranged in the crest and adorned with emblems.
                        -           they are polished smooth and painted black. 
-           they have large and beautiful female features to reflect Mende’s concept of beauty.
-           they are used to prepare and initiate young Mende girls into responsible adults.
-           the masks bear depressed faces.
-           the young women wear the masks and look out through slits made beside the jaw at the level of the mouth.
-           the eyes, mouth and chin are small.

 (c)       The Minsereh

-           they are found among the Yassi Society of Mende in Sierra Leone.
-           they are female wooden figures.
                        -           the body is slim and naturalistic.
-           they have ringed neck.
-           they have elaborate hairdo.
-           they have protruding buttocks.
-           their arms are thin.
-           they have narrow waists.
-           they have small mouth.
-           it is used for magical healing and divination.
-           they are statuettes in standing positions.
-           they have bulging foreheads
-           they have small face.

 (d)      Igbo-Ukwu Bronze pots

                        -           they are art forms located in Igbo-Ukwu in Nigeria.
                        -           they are ornamental.
                        -           they were excavated from cistern in a man’s compound.
                        -           they are used for religious purposes.
                        -           they are in the form of flower vases.
                        -           they are decorated with knotted ropes.
                        -           they have detailed body decorations of tiny pellets, thin threads,
                                    and spirals.
-           the pots are characterised with relief representations of animal and insects.
-           it shows high technology in bronze casting.


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