Empirical study of Akuapem Odwira festival and traditional state symbols: a means for design and production of textile regalia for Akuapem Paramount Chief

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July, 2015
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Unity we say “is strength”. Akuapem is a major ethnic group in the eastern region of Ghana which consists of 16 different towns and kingship. Lack of one’s knowledge about his or her roots makes him/her feel rejected. Additionally, divisions among the chiefs over the years has been a setback to the Akuapems thereby hindering developments in the area. This empirical study sought to contribute to the unity of the Akuapem state through the design and production of selected regalia after taking inspiration from Akuapem traditional symbols and activities of the Akuapem Odwira festival. It is in the light of this that the study observed, documented and described the significant role textiles play in the Akuapem Odwira festival using universal research design methodology. The study discussed the philosophical meanings with respect to status of the chiefs for unification and development. This was driven by a conceptual basis ‘‘reuniting Akuapem State for socio-cultural and economic development’’, a concept developed from the adage ‘Nsa baako nkura adesua’. The researcher employed the universal research design approach to identify and describe legal issues relating to the study and some of the symbolic qualities in the design and production process. This study therefore seeks to look at how to design traditional regalia such as palanquin and an umbrella using all the symbols of the divisional chiefs and clan symbols to promote and reinforce the unification of the Akuapem state. The new regalia produced, that is a figurative palanquin and the triple headed umbrella (ebi si bi so si bi so) contain the main symbol of the Akuapem State, the five divisional symbols and the eight Akan totems to reaffirmed the unity of the state and also indicates the hierarchy of chieftaincies system in the Akuapem State. The new regalia are recommends to be used by the Omanhene during Odwira festival to permit the divisional chiefs also to use the double headed umbrella whilst the sub-chiefs use the single headed umbrella for easy identification.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Industrial Art, Kwame Nkrumah University Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Fine Art (Textile Design), 2015