Visual Arts Project Topics

A Visual Represntation of Atilogwu Dancers Using Screen Printing in Full Colours in Halftone

A Visual Represntation of Atilogwu Dancers Using Screen Printing in Full Colours in Halftone




The main reason of this project therefore is an attempt to give a visual representation of the Atilogwu dancers using the process of full colour screen printing in half tone technique which could be a form of textile painting, which serves as aesthetic purpose in primary colours which can be used to get other colours with high aesthetic values Printing the activities of the Atilogwu dancers on thick fabric is to apply the principle of “memory colour”.




William fox Talbot is credited with the idea of half tone printing. In the early 1830‟s, he suggested using “photographic screens or veils” in connection with a photographic intaglio process. Several different kinds of screen were proposed during the following decades. One of the well known attempts was by Stephen H. Horgan while working for the New York Daily graphic. The first printed photograph was an image of Steinway hall Manhattan published on December 2, 1873. The graphic then publish “the first reproduction of a photograph with a full tonal range in a newspaper” on March 4, 1880 (entitled “a scene in shantytown”) with a crude halftone

The first truly successful commercial was patented by Fredrick Ives of Philadelphia in 1881. Although he found a way of breaking up the images into dots of varying sizes, he did not make use of a screen. In 1882, the German Georg Meisenbach patented a halftone process in England. His invention was based on the previous ideas of Berchtold and Swan. He used single lined screens which were turned during exposure to produce cross – lined effects. He was the first to achieve any commercial success with relief halftone.

Shortly afterwards, Ives, this time in collaboration with Louis and max levy, improved the process further with the invention and commercial production of quality cross

– lined screen. The relief halftone blocks in popular journals became regular during the early 1890‟s. The development of halftone printing methods for lithography appears to have followed a larger independent path. In the 1860‟s, a Hoen and co. focused on methods

allowing artists to manipulate the tones of hand – worked printing stones. By the 1880‟s Hoen was working on half tone methods that could be used in conjunction with either hand worked or photolithographic stones.


CMYK is a colour system that uses cyan, magenta, yellow and black (key) inks. It is primarily used in prints (business cards, posters, banners, and brochures). In 1906, the eagle printing ink company incorporated the four colour wet process inks for the first time. They discovered that these four colours can be combined to produce an almost unlimited number of richer, darker tones.

CMYK is a substrate colour model. To explain this we need a little science lesson. The sunlight bouncing around is basically white light – all the wavelengths, or colour in the spectrum at the same time. Those light wavelengths interact with the world, and our eyes interpret those interactions as colour. When sunlight hits a bright green surface, the surface „absorbs‟ some of the red, orange and violet colours and reflects the blue, green and yellow that we see.

Sequel to the above explanations, In four colour printing process (CMYK) different inks are laid in sequence in order to build the final image. The sequence that the inks are laid down can significantly alter the final printed result. Ink sequence can also impact whether the job runs successfully or fails on print.

Printing always involves a level of compromise and the choice of ink sequence is no exception. The four colour process printing was developed to reproduce full – colour artwork accurately when printing on white paper. Essentially, a decent sized gamut of visible colour can be represented by printing various densities of the primary colors cyan, magenta, yellow and black.

The CMYK colour model was developed to work against a white background which is rarely a problem with paper. Fabrics are prone to varying in thickness due to their flexibility and the fact that they are made in various factories across the world and by humans with varying standards and methods. Slight variance in thickness cause some garment surfaces to be closer to the screen than others. These variances can translate into more –saturated prints on thicker fabric and sometimes colour shifts where the entire image takes on a slight tint of magenta, yellow, cyan or black.

CMYK is preferred to use on white or varying light garment when the artwork consist of an image that does not contain colours that need to be exact, and on images where there are not many „memory colour‟

Memory colours are colours that intuitively know when it is wrong. For example, skin tones, the colour of the sky and foliage are all such that we notice if they are even slightly off.

Based on the limitations CMYK is most appropriate for printing images that are

  • Cartoony or fantastic
  • Washed out or distressed full colour
  • Full colour on a budget where accurate reproduction isn‟t as
  • Heavily processed or saturated images where memory colours have already been tweaked.


As recorded by Okoro, C. (2014) Atilogwu is a very popular dance among the Igbo speaking people of Anambra, Enugu, and Imo states of eastern Nigeria. It is a dance that combines grace and agility in execution. Atilogwu or Etilogwu which is actually interpreted as Etinyelu ogwu or Atinyelu Ogwu depending on the version of the Igbo dialect is actually a question asked when the dancers are performing. The question of „is there magic? Or is magic involved? „Such questions arises as a consequence of the mystical, utmost impossible feats performed by the dancers. The dance differs from one locality to another. However, Atilogwu dancers share a lot of similarities despite the different locality practicing it. These similarities are in the areas of instruments, beats, rhythms, dance styles and at times costumes.

According to Chief Chibueze Nzekwe (2014) he said that Atilogwu dance which is one of the oldest dances in Igbo land began centuries ago. It was first recognized in Umunze in Orumba north local government area of Anambra state. Umunze people have been known to have passed the art from one group to another in Anambra state. Atilogwu dance is seen in places like Ebenede, Igbo-Ukwu but it is synonymous with Umunze people of Anambra state. Atilogwu dance which started as a folk talk was mostly performed by the children in the village square.

Back then it was seen as an act of fun or mere play thing by the children. They use their hands (aka) to produce music before instruments like Igba, Ekwe, Udu, etc were introduced. Atilogwu dance is performed by children and youth under the age bracket of between 6 – 25 years. These children are usually recruited during the month of September, October and November for trainings. The trainings done within these months are called

Egwu onwa (dance performed during the month, it can also mean during the moon light night that is tales or dance by moon lights). The main dance which is the atilogwu dance is always performed in the month of December every yea. He proceeded further to state that in the olden days they move about from house to house to dance and collect money. During  the olden days, atilogwu was mainly performed by the boys but the girls danced to a kind of dance called “Nwammara Ogo” which is a dance of the mind. The boys and girls learn their dances separately. Before the introduction of custumes, atilogwu dancers performed naked, their bare bodies were however beautified with igbo tattoos or motifs with uli or uyi (charcoal).

Furthermore, when the children are recruited, the mothers of the performing children come to the village square where the dancers practice with food items such as  yam, coconut, Abacha ( African salad) so that the children can all eat, so as not to be distracted by hunger or thirst.


With reference to chief Chibueze Nzekwe (2014), he said Atilogwu dance has no fix number of players and dancers. The players could be as much as from 5-10 or more people while the dancers could be between 6-10.furthermore, the formation of Atilogwe dancers is always headed by the Ogbu Uzo Egwu (captain of the dance). The captain stays in front of the dance. He leads and the other dancers follow. The role of the captain is to ensure that the dance is well organized. During the dance as the captain changes the dance steps, the other dancers move with the same rhythm. Another dancer that aids in the Atilogwu dance apart

from the captain is the Ono n‟Etiti  Egwu(the middle dancer of the Atilogwu dance). His role is to relate what the captain had performed to the dancers performing at the rear. The reason is that, the dancers at the rear may not clearly see what the captain does, so the middle dancer replicates the dance steps for the dancers at the rear to copy.

In Atilogwu dance, there are three basic rhythms that determine the dance movements of the dancers

  1. One that is played when the dancers are on the go (to make an entrance). This rhythmic sound is very mellow, melodious and
  2. The second rhythmic sound is slow and it actually starts the atilogwu dance
  3. Finally, the last rhythmic sound during the dance. The tempo is usually is usually very energetic of which is also what the Atilogwu dance is known

The Atilogwu acrobatics include the human scaffold, (the climbing of each other) which is a particular dance formation as a stunt by the performer.


Instruments are used to create a rhythmic sound in a dance. In Atilogwu dance, the most important instrument are Alo (the long metal gong) and Oja (flute) because the Alo and Oja players will not only master their instruments but also know all the dance routine.

According to the internet explorer, it is said that the Atilogwu dancers dance to the language of Oja and Alo which is interpreted in Igbo saying that “okpa mmaonwu na- Adako”. There are certain instruments used by Atilogwu dancers. These include:

  • “EKWE” (the wooden gong): this instrument is made of wood and has two handles.The player either sits on the ground or stands and produces the sound using two sticks.
  • “BIG ALO” (metal gong): this instrument is made up of metal; it has the shape of a cone with a sharp and pointed base. It stands upright with its pointed base stuck into the ground enabling the player to be balance while producing rhythmic sounds. Alo is also known as the communicator amongst the Atilogwu dance instruments.
  • “OGENE” (ANUKA GONG): this is another type of a metal gong used in the dance. It is also used for other purposes such as when the town crier wants to relay a message from the palace to the people in the community. It is also used by the chief priest to summon or communicate with the spirits of the land. it is smaller than the big Alo and it is carried on the hand when it is beaten.
  • “OGENE MPI NAABO” (double gong): this is almost the same as the Ogene Anuku. Its major difference is that unlike the former, this one has two compartments, hence “mpi naabo” referring to the term two horns.
  • “ICHAKA” (maracas): this instrument is made of un-cut calabash (gourd) with different colors of beads running through the body which aids to produce a particular kind of rhythmic sound.
  • “OYO” (shakers): it is also two instruments made of strings of metal held together with a rope. Tiny white stones (granite) are poured into the instrument to produce another kind of
  • “UDU”: this is another instrument made of clay shaped like a pot with two This is used with the aid of foam in the shape of a hand held fan to produce music.
  • “BIG IGBAND EZE or IGBA”: it is a round medium sized drum carved from wood which tends to the dancers.
  • “OJA” (flute): this is a carved wooden flute used in the Atilogwu dance. It is also used during events like the Igwe‟s coronation, iri-iji ohuru (new yam festival). Atilogwu without a flute is a Fantamount as music without a voice
  • “UGBO MKPOKITI or NGEDE GWU” (pot xylophone): this is a clay pot like instrument with strings of metal running across a wide opening.


According to in online dictionary, a dance costume is the clothing worn the dancers when performing before an audience. A dance costume maybe custom designed for use in a specific dance work, or it may have a traditional design, such as those used in ceremonial and folk dances. Typically, dance costumes are designed to harmonize with the dance and not hinder the movement of the dancers. It may fit loosely or may be form fitting to emphasize the form of the dancers body. In Atilogwu dance, there are three objects that must be included in the costumes and they are.




This project is based on using the four colour printing technique known as CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and key also known as black) to manually make a full colour print on a thick fabric using the colorful Atilogwu dancers as a case study printing in halftone.

It shows the beauty and uniqueness of printing in primary colours which can be used to get other colours with high aesthetic values using also a printed form through continuous dot and tone imagery varying in size to generate a gradient – like effect.


The method of full colour print is very important as its creativity in representation on pictorial image on fabric is of great importance. Textile designers are to embrace this new invention in screen printing. This also promotes the Atilogwu dance of the Anambra people of Nigeria.

REFRENCES Chief Chibueze Nzekwe (2014)


JOHNSON: 1994: 72 – 73

Okolo, Kenechukwu Bridget, June 2014 Okoro, Chiamaka Clara, June 2014

Petermack 007’s weblog

The>2009/07 Williamson (2011)

Wordweb dictionary

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