Discourse with Foase traditional wood carvers: implications for art education

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This thesis discusses the operations of Foase traditional wood carvers and its implication to Art Education in Ghanaian schools and colleges and on the broader spectrum, national development. Education, which is the medium through which culture is passed on from one generation to another needs to be clearly planned in our today’s Ghana where Western concepts have tremendously influenced all walks of life of students and the young in general, resulting in production of social misfits. They may be called social misfits because they are not in touch with the traditions of their motherland. In this vein, it is in the right direction to incorporate traditions, values and concepts in the school curriculum. The incorporation of traditional art in our school art curriculum will ensure the continuity of the Ghanaian concepts and identity found in the arts. Carvings produced by Foase traditional wood carvers are no exception when talking of the most vibrant and culturally loaded arts. They carry philosophical values in the form of proverbs, stories, historical records and other aesthetic values projected from cultural contexts. This research aims at discussing, analyzing and documenting priceless information gathered from the carvers of the locality, as they touch on their working practices, the philosophies that have become the bedrock of their work, their market segment, innovations and their future forecasts, to mention but a few. The qualitative method of research was employed. The researcher however dwelt on the critical discourse methodology. The researcher employed interview and observation as the tools of research. Data were also collected from available relevant or related literature based on the topic, in the form of text books, journals, magazines, the internet and other related sources. The purposive sampling technique was used to sample carvers of all ranks. They were twelve in number. The researcher engaged all groups in an interesting and facts driven discourse. The researcher in his effort therefore arrived at some major findings based on objectives and other vital information, yielding new knowledge. These major findings include the fact that the study of Foase wood carving will promote and enhance the teaching of carving related to Ghanaian culture in our schools and colleges, and that the art is a great asset to the export and tourism pillars of the Ghanaian economy. The researcher has also provided useful recommendations in the text after a careful study of the short comings with operations at Foase traditional carving sheds and in schools and colleges.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies,Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in art Education, 2011