Stem-branch and stem-root formation for sculpture

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In Ghana, the art of carved sculpture in stem-branch and stem- root is not popular. The technique is practised only by some sculptors who trained in Art Schools. Even then the majority of these trained sculptors who produce stem-branch and stem-root sculpture do so once a while, when they come across the stem-branch or stem-root which suggests clearly a recognizable image. They carve the stem-branch directly following the suggested or representational image in the medium, which in most cases, amongst these practicing sculptors could be once or twice in a decade. What is interesting about this technique is that jutting out branches and roots from a main stem most often serve as heads or arms of human or animals, leaving the bulk of the wood, the main stem, for the artist to create something with. This can be a very difficult task, a tedious and slow problem-solving process, to the extent of limiting the artist to working with a particular piece of wood with which he can express himself. Therefore he is left with the choice of expressing himself within defined limits - the freedom of expression, within boundaries. Carving stem-branch and stem-root is not practised widely by sculptors. Reasons could be — 1. Such wood pieces are not easily available like real logs 2. Some sculptors find such wood difficult to use - a big problem to identify forms or image in wood.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Fine Arts in Sculpture, 1996