AMON KOTEI Ghanaian, 1915-2011

Biography

AMON KOTEI

Nii Amon Kotei (24 May 1915 — 17 October 2011) was a Ghanaian artist (sculpture, painter, and musician) and surveyor. He is also the acclaimed designer of the coat of arms of Ghana. He was one of Ghana's leading artists. Kotei was born on 24 May 1915, at La, near Accra, and belonged to the Ga tribe and trained as a surveyor. He was a distinguished artist and designed the National Coat of Arms on 4 March 1957. He was commissioned to do the design by Ghana's first President Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah and the then British Colonial administration as independence drew near in 1957. The Ghana Coat of Arms, found on all government official letterheads, is composed of a shield, divided into four quarters by a green St. George's Cross, rimmed with gold. He died on 17 October 2011, after which the parliament of Ghana paid tribute to him. He studied under a scholarship at Achimota School and later received a scholarship to study art at the London School of Printing and Graphic Art from 1949 to 1952. He also fought for the Royal West African Frontier Force during World War II and also worked in the Cartographic Division of the Army. He drew maps and plans for use by soldiers on the war front. He also taught in Achimota School. After Ghana attained independence1957. Kwame Nkrumah, Prime Minister of Ghana, and his followers became concerned with what they labeled the "colonial mentality" (Laramie, 1962). The psychological as well as political bonds of colonialism needed to be broken, and Ghanaians had to be shown that they were indeed free and independent. The cultivation of African traditions and institutions was an important aspect of ridding Ghana of the colonial mentality. Of equal importance, however, were the symbolic gestures initiated by Nkrumah shortly after independence through Operation Psychology. According to the evening News (June 22, 1957: 2)-the newspaper of Nkrumah's political party, the Convention People's Party-Operation Psychology consisted of the use of "visual aids in interpreting the soul and spirit of independence which we fought so dearly to achieve." Nkrumah's extrinsic rhetorical strategies in the period immediately following independence were thus directed toward the fulfillment of Operation Psychology. Politically, Ghana was independent, but the resulting symbols of nationhood had not been adequately formulated. A flag had been chosen, and a national motto, "Freedom and Justice, had been adopted. However, a psychological vacuum resulted from the rejection of British institutions, and this Nkrumah tried to fill through a kind of personal.

 

 
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