The artistic aspects of indigenous marriage among the gbi of Ghana.

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JULY, 2009
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Marriage is considered a basic institution in every human society. It is recognized as a social institution, not only for establishing and maintaining the family, but also for creating and sustaining the ties of kinship. Without the institution of marriage, there would be no family, nuclear or extended and therefore no kinship ties. According to the culture of the Ewes of Ghana, marriage is one of the most important aspects of life and it is observed among the many transitional rites of the people of Gbi. I am fully aware that the field of study of this topic: “Artistic aspects of indigenous marriage among the Ewes of Ghana” is very wide and for that matter, the researchers attempt here is limited to a section of the Ewes that is the Gbi. The findings of this thesis however, indicated that the traditional society of Gbi has a pattern of conduct about the use of art in marriage which is worth studying and developing. For, this is the reason why the researcher has taken up to: (a) Study the marriage customs of the people of Gbi of Ghana, with the view of finding out the use and importance of art in them. (b) Identify the importance of art in the marriage customs of Gbi and document them. The research covers a brief history of the Gbi people from Notsie in Dahomey now (Benin) to their present destination Peki and Hohoe in the Northern Volta of Ghana. Also the institution of marriage in Gbi and the place of art in it. And the various indigenous customary marriages that are allowed in Gbi. The research design used is the qualitative method. It involves the descriptive, recording and analysis. This involves some type of comparison or contrast and attempts to discover relationships between existing non-manipulative variables From the finding, the researcher has noted that the indigenous visual art forms cannot be ignored at all in the day to day activity of man especially in the life cycle of people in Gbi and Ghana as a whole. Every aspect of life namely conception, birth, naming, puberty, marriage, death, and funeral depend very much on the use of indigenous art forms for the reasons of protection guidance, and life enhancing support activities. It has been noted also that this study will serve as (a) Body of knowledge which will enhance the understanding of marriage among the people of Gbi. (b) It will also serve as a model or example of the importance of indigenous visual art among other ethnic groups in Ghana. (c) The materials will serve as reference to other researchers and those who want to contract indigenous marriage in Gbi. (d) It will also be very useful to artists, art teachers, art historians, anthropologists and researchers in Gbi culture. After carefully weighing both the positive and the negative sides of indigenous marriage rites in Gbi, from what was obtained from the following respondents e.g. Traditional rulers (chiefs and queen mothers), priest and priestesses, literate Gbis and married initiates, the following recommendations are made. (a) Cultural secretariat should be opened in Gbi to see to the proper administration and co-ordination of all cultural activities. (b) For the ideals of indigenous marriage to make any profound impact on the lives of the women in Gbi, it is recommended that all the young girls be advised to marry customarily in order for them to go through the informal initiation rites at puberty before proceeding to marry. During puberty rites in Gbi, ideals of life such as vocations e.g. weaving, pottery, beads making, tie and dye etc., cooking and proper home management and family life are taught. As the teaching of these skills would require funding, it is also recommended that District Assemblies in Gbi should assist in this area. (a) It is recommended also that, the elders and Queen mothers of Gbi traditional area should form an association in order to create dialogue with traditionalists and churches to explore systematic ways of using puberty rites to help educate, train and control premarital sex promiscuity and also prevent HIV. In the Gbi society the indigenous visual art forms are used alongside with the contemporary art forms among the Ewes of Gbi in indigenous marriage rites and because of this, the indigenous visual arts are losing their value and roles gradually, so there is the urgent need for Volta Regional Centre for National Culture to preserve the indigenous visual art forms from the contemporary arts and make useful changes for the indigenous arts wherever it is necessary to fit into contemporary arts.
A thesis presented to the school of graduate studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi. In partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Arts