BEYOND ANTHROPOLOGICAL AND ASSOCIATIONAL DISCOURSE- INTERROGATING THE MINIMALISM OF IKOM MONOLITHS AS CONCEPT AND FOUND OBJECT ART (Published)
Ikom Monoliths are a unique form of African visual creativity, which typifies a traditional art genre defined by minimalism aesthetics. These unique abstractionism, positions the Ikom Monoliths apart, in formal configuration and content, from other established traditional African art conventions. However, this unique aesthetic paradigm imbedded in the Ikom Monoliths, is under-researched. The main purport of this study was aimed art propounding a new perspective of investigating these creative stone carvings, which will bring to lime light their peculiar artistic visual qualities, and locate them within a creative conventional context. At the base of this study, the current discourse on Ikom Monoliths was surveyed, which indicated that, such discourse was drawn along anthropological lines of investigation, which incorporates various ambiguities. This is because, such anthropological discourse reduces these monoliths to mere artefacts and monuments, thereby depriving them of their artistic being. This study equally identified the discourse of aesthetic association, as another paradoxical mode of enquiry employed by most scholars in discussing Ikom Monoliths and pointed out that, the association/relation of the Ikom Monoliths with Western European monuments like Stonehenge, Menhirs, or Megaliths, was both problematic and misleading. This study rather employed an artistic methodology of investigation which focused on interrogating the visual artistic qualities of these stone carvings. The result of this intrinsic investigation, led to the submissions that, the Ikom Monoliths possesses conceptual minimalist qualities which set them apart as a peculiar aesthetic genre from other traditional African artworks, and further positing that the Ikom Monoliths are traditional Found Object. This findings therefore, underpins the fact that, the concept of Found Object transmutation in African art, predates its usage and appearance in Western European art cultures.