Musical Embellishment I (2018) by Moses UnokwahTerra Kulture
Painted by Moses Unokwah, the artwork is an excellent example of his artistic skills. Born in Lagos, Moses Unokwah trained with the chimeric experimental artist, Bruce Onobrakpeya. His work is regarded for its graceful figurative lines and visual brilliance of the socio-political, cultural, and religious life in Nigeria.
The engraved plate was printed on aluminium foil before the drawings were carved out. Aluminum foil is placed on the laminated cast and burnished. The color on metal foil artworks undergoes a two-week process. Foil pieces are patinated to give a metallic finish of green and rust to simulate the Benin ancient bronzes.
The artwork 'Musical Embellishment I' is an abridged version of 10 original works. This piece depicts six traditional musicians adorned in their heavily patterned traditional attires dancing and playing their instruments at a royal event.
The clefts on their faces are called tribal marks, a form of beautification and identity practiced by Yoruba, Hausa Fulani, and Benin tribes in Nigeria. The six men represents different tribes in Nigeria. They play in symphony which demonstrates how diversity and music can unite people.
The first man, a Fulani musician leads the entourage with his gourd drum. The second, a Yoruba talking drummer in his Agbada.
The talking drum, as its name allows, speaks. It’s different pitches mimic the tone and rhythm of the human voice. The gangan, as the Yoruba call it, is played to celebrate royalty or opulence.
The third man, an Igbo musician with his personified eerie drum, IGBA “Taking drum” and Opi, made from animal horn or elephant husk in Southern Nigeria. The horn is played on the arrival or departure of the King or Igwe.
From his noticeable tribal marks and tattoos, the fourth man, a Yoruba nomad with charms, supports the symphony with a Sekere, a gourd covered with a net of cowries.
The 6th man on the right is a Hausa folk artist. He is telling from his cylindrical aboki hat, is playing the Jali, a long Hausa guitar that extends from above his head to his crotch, and Kakaki, a Hausa metal trumpet only played at events of the King or Sultan.