International Journal of Art & Design Education


Volume 24.3   2005



This article deals with a cross-cultural, interdisciplinary approach to Sculpture in a practice-based PhD. The research centred on context in relationship to the Giriama Commemorative Grave Posts of Kenya and my art practice in the UK. This heuristic investigation culminated in the construction of wall and floor fragments relating to vernacular architecture in both cultures. The natural environment and my previous teaching experience in Kenya had a major impact on the work. The self-reflexive and visual aspects of the research were documented through diaries and photographic record. Feelings of vulnerability and insecurity led to the main theme of mortality. The practical work progressed through themes of binary opposition and semiotic reference in particular reference to the materials and processes I used. The first body of work was shown to an African audience at the National Museum of Kenya, and then later work at the Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London. This reinforced the significance of familiar readings of the work through cultural context and symbolic recognition, often reflecting a culturally specific interpretation.