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Calabash

Elizabeth Kendall

Bronkhorstspruit, South Africa

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Artist's Description

Hollowed out and dried calabashes are a very typical utensil in households across West Africa. They are used to clean rice, carry water and also as food containers. Smaller sizes are used as bowls to drink palm-wine.

Calabashes are used in making the West African kora (a harp-lute), xalam/ngoni (a lute) and the goje (a traditional fiddle).They also serve as resonators underneath the balafon (West African marimba). The calabash is also used in making the shegureh (a Sierra Leonean women’s rattle and balangi (a Sierra Leonean type of balafon) musical instruments.
Sometimes, large calabashes are simply hollowed, dried and used as percussion instruments, especially by Fulani, Songhai, Gur-speaking and Hausa peoples.
In Nigeria, the calabash has been used to avoid a law requiring the wearing of a helmet on a motorcycle.
In South Africa, it is commonly used as a drinking vessel by tribes such as the Zulus.
FEATURED in Sketching & Drawing
29 May 2011.
FEATURED in Live, Love & Dream
29 May 2011.
FEATURED in Fantastic Primitive Art
30 May 2011.
FEATURED in All things Coffee on the permanent feature page
6 July 2011.
Recently, the Soccer City stadium which hosted the FIFA World Cup has been completed and its shape takes inspiration from the calabash.
I have three huge calabashes in my house, just for decoration! I enjoyed drawing and painting this one. I used charcoal, waterpaint, coffee and pen on 120gsm paper.

Artwork Comments

  • Maree Clarkson
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Sally Griffin
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Richard Huston
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Pieta Pieterse
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • James Gibbs
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • supernan
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Sue Ratcliffe
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Maree Clarkson
  • Dayonda
  • Elizabeth Kendall
  • Dayonda
  • Elizabeth Kendall
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