AN EXAMINATION OF TRADITIONAL MURAL ART OF THE OBINGWA
Modernization and globalization have caused changes in the mural art tradition of the Obingwa.The presence of modern trends in architecture and wall decoration with the use of industrial materials and contemporary designs have made the people of Obingwa to have contempt on traditional architecture and traditional wall decoration; which had not attracted any scholarly attention. In view of this, the study examined the Traditional Mural Art of the Obingwa. Chapter one focuses on the introduction, background of the study and statement of research problem. Furthermore, it states the objectives of the study which include: to identify the mural artists, mural art materials and motifs used in the traditional art and to enumerate the functions of the mural art, as well as to examine the present state of the traditional mural art of the Obingwa. Chapter two is an incorporation of some scholarly views, positions, arguments and analysis regarding the origin and practice of mural art from the Paleolithic through the contemporary traditional periods, where it is argued that the oldest mural ever discovered was on the soil of African continent. The procedure for collecting and analyzing relevant data is outlined in chapter three, with the employment of Ethnographic of qualitative research as design. Chapter four on the other hand contains the analysis of information obtained from field work and the discussions based on the objectives of the research. In addition chapter four discloses among others, the functions of Obingwa traditional murals which include religious worship, aesthetics, communication, advertisement, ceremonial invitation, historical narration, education and curing of ailments. Chapter five focuses on the summary, conclusion and recommendation. The researcher recommends among others that the people of Obingwa should collectively pass a resolution on cultural revival and involve the existing Christian missions in the campaign, for the survival of traditional arts. This could allow the mural tradition to function simultaneously with Christian beliefs.
1.1 Background of the study
Mural art along side body adornment, wood carving and weaving are the age-long traditional arts of Obingwa of Abia State, Nigeria. The mural art called “Agwugwa Ulo” meaning wall inscriptions is practiced by women. The art formed part of the architectural design of the people. They depict geometric and natural motifs, designs, indigenous styles, techniques, modes and functions of the art. The traditional architectural patterns of Obingwa are similar to those of other Southern Igbo communities, which are areas in present Abia and Imo States as delineated by Isichei (1977). This uniformity is due to the climate condition of the area. The design is done on mud walls and incorporate with delta leaves or raffia as roofs.
Mural art which is also seen as wall decoration is a work of art that decorates a wall or ceiling of a building. This could be done in the interior or exterior walls of the building. Irivwieri (2003) states that various motifs that are either geometric, botanical, human, zoomorphic, abstracts and indigenous motifs are employed to create art works and narrate stories on a subject matter, thereby projecting an idea inherent in it. According to Kleiner(2011),“the origin of mural art is traced to prehistoric rock and cave paintings and engravings, some of which dateback to 30,000 years”.