Paper Title
Public Sculpture in Urban Development: The Enugu CoalCity Experience
Obiora Anidi, Ph.D
Arts, Language, and Communication

This paper defined the concepts of sculpture and development. It briefly reviewed the origin, past and present profile of Enugu Coal City, as an urban area and as a fertile ground for art education, practice and enterprise, which can bring about development. It also discussed the intrinsic values and roles of public sculpture in urban development. The paper further revealed the recent use and applications (acquisitions and commissions) of public sculptures for the enrichment of the aesthetic landscaping and development of Enugu CoalCity, especially by the immediate past and present governments of Enugu CoalCity and State. It listed and briefly reviewed some of the acquired and commissioned public sculptures in the city. The limitations of the project were discussed, especially the issue of poor maintenance of public sculptures and site-inappropriateness or relevance of some of the public sculptures, as applied. Finally, conclusions and recommendations were made.

Sculpture, development, urban, Enugu CoalCity, monument


Sculpture is a branch of visual art that is traditionally concerned with the study and manipulation of elements such as form and space in search of a two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) visual expression. In modern terms, a sculptural work could include more elements, such as color, sound, movement, air, wind, water, fire, gas, etc. A sculpture work could be said to be objective or subjective in nature. It is objective, when a work interprets “life” in its realistic form and subjective, when it is a re-interpretation of “life” in an abstract or semi-abstract form – the expression or interpretation of a personal experience or position. It could also be a product or a process. As a product, it is a physical and a tangible form, which could be for man’s aesthetic visual pleasure or serve other functional purposes, including psychological, sociological, or even spiritual functions for man, which could also be applied in interior furniture and decoration, ceramics, textiles, graphics, architecture, educational technology, psychotherapy landscaping, horticulture and other industries. As a process, it is the art and experiences of manipulation of space and form, including all the other elementals, in search of a two (2D) or three dimensional (3D) visual expression. Sculpture as a product or process could be applied for development.

There are many perceptions or definitions of development as a concept. It could be referred to as growth or change in structure, function, or organization, constituting an advance in size, differentiation, complexity, integration, capacity, efficiency or degree of maturity and progress (Good, 1973). Seleha (2008) viewed development as the application of the general idea of progress in the socio-economic, psychological and political sphere of a thing, individual or the nation. Development is about progress, production level and added value of life and living (Inyamah, 2010). Development comes about in the application of positive idea and action towards progress. The idea of applying public sculpture for the renewal or enhancement of the urban (boxed-up) environment is trending and is today helping in the development of the urban areas and the wellbeing of the artist and other urban inhabitants. Today, public sculpture is being applied for the development of Enugu CoalCity, and other cities and towns are beginning to emulate Enugu.


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