28 jun. 2011

Ghana, Yesterday and Today

Ghana, Hier et Aujourd'hui
BOOK REVIEW 
Title: Ghana, Hier et Aujourd'hui (Ghana, Yesterday and Today)  
Author: Christiane Falgayrettes-Leveau and Christiane Owusu-Sarpong 
Year of publication: 2003 
Paperback: 424 pages 
Language: French and English
Synopsis:
Ghanaian metal-casters, goldsmiths, weavers, sculptors and ceramists have, from time immemorial, created objects glorifying political and spiritual power. Of varied origins - Asante, Fante, Ga, Ewe or Brong -, these pieces are the expression of ways of living and thinking that have been passed on from one generation to the next. For centuries, Ghana, previously known as the Gold Coast, based its economic influence on the trading of gold. Its colour and symbolism are intimately associated with the figure of the Asantehene - the King of the Asante. The jewellery belonging to the royal family and to palace officials are examples of sophisticated craftsmanship, while alongside these pieces, other insignia of high rank, such as the stools, are invested with a sacred dimension.
Ghanaian spiritual life, which accords special importance to relations with the deceased, has fostered the production of anthropomorphic terracottas, such as those unearthed at Koma-Bulsa and those of the Akan groups. Today's researchers posses descriptions of the latter dating from as early as 1601. This book presents a vast array of remarkable items exemplifying many different regional styles.
This book devotes a great deal of space to such contemporary creativity and highlights several outstanding examples, notably the work of Owusu-Ankomah, whose theme of bodies in movement embraces a resurgence or reworking of “traditional” motifs. It also presents the innovative approach adopted by Almighty God, whose paintings are teeming with symbols. His perpetually evolving art fuses text and images, and favours faithful portraiture or hyperrealism.
Thanks to contributions from today's foremost specialists, this reference work allows the reader not only to explore ancient kingdoms but also to discover modern Ghana and its rich cultural heritage.

©Text: Éditions Dapper
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