Documentation of artefacts in selected Ghanaian Senior High Schools

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The study concerned itself with the documentation of school based visual arts which might have either deteriorated or been forgotten to serve as a record of students for a particular period of time to provide appraisal and evaluative map for the progress of the visual arts programme in Ghana. The study specifically sought to examine artefacts produced by students and to find out the skills and competencies of students in creating art works, the characteristics of students’ art works, how these art works are cared for and preserved in selected Senior High Schools which offer the visual arts, and the extent to which art works kept in the schools are made accessible and utilised. In addition, selected undocumented art works produced by students were identified, described, analysed, interpreted and evaluated. The population for the study comprised Senior High Schools which offer the visual arts in the Eastern, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions of Ghana. The sample for the study was made up of 30 Senior High Schools where visual arts subjects are studied. Ten schools were selected from each region. The main sample and sampling procedures adopted for the study were simple random sampling, purposive sampling, stage sampling and proportional stratified sampling. Interview schedule, observation guide, official records and documents were the main instruments used to collect data. The data was collected through personal interviews and observations. This was assembled, discussed and analysed in descriptive form. The findings of the study revealed that, students exhibited excellent manipulative skills and competencies in artefacts produced. Students’ artefacts show an evidence of technical competencies in draughtsmanship and craftsmanship. Both two and three dimensional compositions are unique pieces of art based on an idea, philosophy and concept. The study had also shown that students generally produced realistic, naturalistic as well as abstracted works of art. The study revealed improper storage and preservation measures in almost all the schools because of inadequate or lack of display structures or facilities. Objects within storage areas were packed in ways that are deleterious to their conditions. Some objects had therefore begun to deteriorate for a variety of reasons, such as environmental conditions which include improper controls for light, temperature, relative humidity, air pollutants and pests throughout the storage and exhibit area. The study showed that the schools were not keeping good track and proper preservation measures of students’ artworks. The study also showed that art works were not fully utilised to enhance teaching and learning in the schools. Based on the findings of the study, the study recommends that instead of keeping students’ artefacts in obscure places, art teachers should look for more convenient ways of utilising students’ art works to promote effective teaching and learning. It is therefore suggested that, since visual communication is incomplete without a target audience, art teachers should share their students' art works with the community through regular exhibitions, mounting of art works in classrooms, school library, in the hallways, school staff common room, offices in the school and other public community centres. In addition to the above, art teachers should also seek sponsorship from school administrations, the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies to publish and showcase the work of students in a professional journal. The study ends by expressing the fear that if the necessary efforts are not made to document and preserve student’s art works, many recent artistic objects and activities will no longer be accessible in the future, and will disappear from history without a trace.
A Dissertation Submitted to the School of Graduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Art Education