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Art as a Tool in the Built Environment

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Abstract:

Man’s interaction with the environment dates back to creation. The interaction of man with its environment has been crucial to the continuous existence of man in relation to solving the fundamental or basic needs of food, shelter and clothing. This has been woven into a web of different cultural environment. This type of cultural environment includes palaces, shrines, markets, malevolent forest and places of social interaction. Man retreated into the protective warmth of cave while the environment threatened his survival (wild animals and weather condition). It was at this period that attempt was made at artistic creation. From this natural habitat developed the more comfortable houses that have been built up till today. Basically, traditional African society operates in environments that advance healthy living, moral values and steady communal growth. They built many houses that are architectural master pieces and decorated them aesthetically without architects and professional designers. The cities and villages were set up according to the dictates of the environment within which they lived without town planners, yet, some of them can be likened to streets in Amsterdam (Denyer 1978). The absence of the architects and town planners were adequately catered for by artists (carvers, moulders, painters and other craftsmen). Today, many of our towns and cities are reflections of great wealth without commensurate aesthetic value, while some others portray signs of poverty of ideas and skilled men because art has been neglected. The thrust of this paper is to access the invaluable role that art plays in nationbuilding through the built environment that we can call our own. It also emphasized the significance of the role of professional artists in the support of a reliable and conducive environment, which was very prominent among the traditional people.

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