Nudity in painting: art or pornography? a case study of the Department of Painting and Sculpture (KNUST)

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One of the pertinent problems which artists face today in our society on nude painting is the negative impression associated with the painting of female nude figures. Thus, some people consider female nude painting as immoral and pornographic. This may be due to their religious background, especially if they are Christians, Moslems, Traditional believers or other faiths. The study employed qualitative method of research with purposive sampling technique and simple random sampling with interview and questionnaire to collect the necessary data. The study revealed that nudity in painting or figure painting was introduced by the colonial educators who came to teach art at Achimota College in the 1960s. The research discovered that nudity in painting is art but not pornography: because it is used as a study object by the students in the Department of Painting and Sculpture in KNUST where models are used to learn the anatomical structure of the human figure in order to train high calibre painters who meet the artistic standards of the international arts market. Also there is no clear difference between nude figures and that of pornography. Both carry nakedness of the person but there is a thin line between them, which should be left to the viewer to decide which aspect is pornography and which aspect of the nude figure is art based on the purpose of the human figure. In order to train high calibre painters to help the country develop economically, the research recommends that the Government of Ghana see to it that Nudity in Painting becomes an accepted subject in the school curriculum so that pupils and students could study the anatomical structure of the human figure without being ashamed. This is because students who come out as doctors, artists and other professionals would know the formation of the muscles, bones, and the different shapes of the human figure. This will enable fashion design to know the shape of the human figure to enable them design good dresses for each shape of human being whether slim, large, big or medium and also surgeons could know how to draw the human figure before an operation is conducted on them and how to identify the exact position of the disease from which that the patient is suffering.
A Thesis submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science Technology, Kumasi,in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Art Education,