Traditional costumes and their relevance as cultural symbols to film making in Ghana Asante case study

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Fifty years after the independence of Ghana, the Ghanaian film makers have not adopted a particular Ghana national costume by which the characters in Ghanaian films can be identified as Ghanaians. As a result of this, the Ghanaian screen has been overtaken by the Nigerian film. This is partly due to the fact that most Ghanaians can identify Nigerian characters in terms of costume, make-up and manner of behaviour in the Nigerian film; while to a large extent, they strangely lack that affinity with the characters in the current Ghanaian video productions on the Ghanaian screen. As a possible solution, the study proposed Asante traditional costumes as relevant cultural symbols that could be the premise for the development of creative costumes for characterization in Ghanaian filmmaking. This is based on the assumption that Asante culture is representative of Ghanaian culture and therefore its popular traditional costumes are recognised as Ghanaian cultural symbols. It is also evident that the creation of a Ghanaian cultural identity on the film screen would make a bold political and cultural statement which would project Ghana on the world scene and yield economic benefits. The investigation has identified Asante traditional costumes, established reasons for similarities and differences between their symbolism and those of the other Ghanaian cultures. It has also critically analysed Asante traditional costumes to determine their level of relevance in creating a Ghanaian cultural identity for characters in filmmaking. The cultural orientation of filmmakers has been explored to determine their perception on the issue of representation and cultural identity in filmmaking in this country. These objectives have been achieved in the thesis by largely employing the qualitative research approach.
Thesis submitted to the Department of General Art Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy in African art and Culture.