The African Verbal Art Artist

Author(s): Andrew Bula

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Abstract: This paper probes three broad characteristics of the African verbal art artist, namely: the sources from which materials are derived for oral performance, the aesthetics of the artist’s oral art, and the functional role of the same. Bias attention is paid to the verbal art artist among the Tivs in Nigeria in West Africa and particularly to the artist’s art of oral poetry, although references to other art forms and other African peoples or places are made without being heavy-handed with the geographical zones of the continent. It is postulated that the sources where ideas are gotten to produce oral poetry are from personal and social experiences; the amusement provided by the artist through verbal art has a modicum of usefulness; and the utility of the art of the verbal artist also offers diversionary.

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