Implications of festivals for aesthetic education in Ghanaian Schools

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Formal education in art at all levels in Ghana fails to devote much time to the establishment of a systematic foundation for aesthetic education. Aesthetic5as a. form of knowledge involving appreciation and criticism is an essential human experience which is carried out not only in an isolated school environment, but in wider context of the community and the whole universe at large. Aesthetic education is an important vehicle for the educational and cultural process which contributes positively to individual and national development. This thesis seeks to document and critically analyze, synthesize and evaluate the implications of festivals for aesthetic education in Ghanaian schools. A breakdown of the main problem reveals the link between the lifestyles of the various ethnic groups and their arts which are represented in their traditional festivals. The research identified some of the Ghanaian festivals and revealed that artifacts are composites of the traditional festivals; some of which would have to be identified in some selected festivals. Chiefs are considered patrons of the artistic and cultural heritage of the people - thus when a chief is out on a ceremonial occasion, in all his pomp and pageatry, the scene equals a mobile exhibition of both the visual and musical arts. The analysis of these symbolic objects showed that the elements of art were so organised as to expose balance, rhythm, contrast, symmetry,’ unity and harmony. The last part of the research asserts that it is possible to suggest programmes and methodologies to effect aesthetic education using these art concepts in the festivals. Schools can be taught the philosophies, values, needs and beliefs behind the festivals. Through the aesthetic education our cultural heritage could be inculcated into our youth in order to maintain, protect, project, preserve and to modernize it. Such attempts to transfer wholly traditional materials into new contexts will be clearly designed to be educative. Looking at the nature of this study/thesis and the amount of work and research involved to make it wholistic and acceptable the writer decided to divide the work into six chapters. The first chapter being the introductory deals with the problem and its setting, Chapter two surveys the related literature. In chapter three, history, values and needs of some selected Ghanaian festivals have been highlighted. The fourth chapter forms the main body of the thesis and provides fresh information on the place of art in the festivals; however, a greater part of which is unpublished. The chapter indentifies the Ghanaian artifacts in the festivals. The fifth chapter directs the sources of these festivals that could be used for aesthetic education. The research then ends in the sixth chapter forming the conclusion. It provides a summary of the main ideas, suggestions and recommendations.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of the Degree of Master of Arts in Art Education, 1992