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Opinions of Thursday, 14 May 2015

Columnist: Nkunim, Yaw

Psyching the nation: CPP symbolic monuments

Life is culture. It is culture that gives order and progress to society. Cultures develop into sophistry. The language of sophistry is symbolism. Symbolism is an art. It is in art therefore that a person or a peoples' psyche is rooted. It is from this system of psychological make up that a peoples' outlook and subsequent development springs. in other words, the mind can only deliver its perception.

Perception is sourced from the realm of abstraction. Conceptualizing from the abstract world is a specialized craft peculiar to practitioners of the arts. Artists and artistes therefore develop concepts from abstraction into physical manifestation. It is from this secondary premise of physical manifestation that society in general draws inspiration for development. Art can therefore be rightly appreciated by the cultured eye. Hence, art is appropriately valued with the right of place in developed societies. It is in this regard that artists like philosophers, performing artists, painters, sculptors, goldsmiths and many more in the creative arts are celebrated as stars. It is indeed through the stars of art that societies are shaped and guided.

Politics is very much an art. However, the depth of appreciation for the indispensable place of art and artists by the polity and society generally, determines the caliber of a nation to be developed. It is with this background that the CPP government gave the necessary respect to art, the arts and artists. CPP, Ghana, Africa and indeed the world was blessed to have a great man of culture , Kwame Nkrumah in the thick of shaping our part of the globe.

The first faculty of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology was the College of Art. Indeed many have even wondered why a College of Art should even be located in a technology university.This has always been a baffle to the ordinary eye. Art is very much technology. The technology of possibilities manifests in art. It is art that gives reality to abstractions. Science and technology therefore, like the larger society, is principled, guided and shaped by the stars of art. KNUST, a great institution by any standard, has the great symbol of a twelve pillar stool as the greeting monument at its main entrance.

Monuments, very much essential part of art, is the major symbolic communication to the mass of society. A nation's masses are psyched up by symbolic monuments; physical, performing and literary monuments. Physical monuments in the landscape of any nation therefore speaks volumes. Monuments are the symbolic pointers to the psyche of the people. Much of the knowledge of Kemet, the great African civilization over six thousand years ago, is sourced from its remnant physical monuments, outstanding among them , the pyramids.

CPP started off with great nationalistic monuments. These national monuments greatly psyched a united national agenda at the onset of Ghana's construction. Such monuments include the Independence Cenotaph with the Black Star on top. (AD 1957), the triplet arch on the Independence Square itself, Ghana Academy of Science and Arts, the Eagle Coat of Arms, Tetteh Quarshie Roundabout among many others. These monuments reflected in the unity of purpose in national construction then.

Sadly, following the overthrow and subsequent disconnect, Ghana's unity has been shattered. This currently manifest politically in NDC and NPP frictions. The deeper reflection of fragmentation of the country is in the generally divisive monuments across various metropolitan landscapes. Unity of Ghana can not be restored without the total overhaul of these divisive landscape monuments.

At a glance, monuments like those of Obetsebi Lamptey, Ako Adjei, Danquah and others must be relocated from the central platforms of daily commute. In their place, unifying monuments like a broom for example must be erected. We must subsequently institute a system to classify national icons and great men of Ghana. President Kufuor for example, by attainment of the presidency, transcends into a national icon. Ako Adjei and Danquah are great men of Ghana.

The Osu Castle, the colonial edifice which used to house the seat of government until recently, must be developed into libraries for these great men of colonialism. The castle gardens can then be appropriately turned into a park for their sculpture monuments. Clarity of the psychological impact of monuments becomes vivid with analogies like Kumasi. Another such place is Achimota School. The theme of Ashanti revolves around the Manhyia Palace. A careful observation of the Kumasi landscape rightly reveals various monuments of Ashanti leaders. Opoku Ware Roundabout, Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampim Roundabout, Prempeh Roundabout at Adum, Osei Tutu Boulevard etc.

Achimota School on the other hand is themed around Kwegyir Aggrey, Gordon Guggisberg, Alex Fraser and the black and white school crest. Sculpture monuments of the above founders and uniting school symbol are prominently and rightly placed across the beautiful open landscape between the administration block and Aggrey Chapel. The school crest has the right of place on the the administration block. Just as the Roman Renaissance which culminated into a continental wide European revolution was established with a heavy dosage of symbolic monuments to reflect their aspirations, our new era will need same.

In the world, especially Africa, symbolism is everything. This communication of symbols to the cultured eye is unmistakably clear with a great message of the new day. At long last, Ghana and Africa are reconnected. From Addis Ababa to Accra, the loud sound of symbolic monuments is roaring like the lion king. CPP and Nkrumaism are at the verge of ushering the African Nation into the era of the promise land.

This revelation is found at the premises of the beautiful symbolic edifices of the reconnected African Woman and her son. These edifices are the African Union Headquarters in Addis Ababa and the stool of the Flagstaff House in Accra. Erected in front of the African Union Headquarters is a sculpture monument of the Man of the Millennium, Kwame Nkrumah. The horn monument for the foundation laying ceremony of the stool at Flagstaff House was sculpted by the stealth and ubiquitous CPP elements, through her sculptor son, Yaw Nkunim.

The foundation laying ceremony of the stool, Flagstaff House was held on Friday, 26 may,2006. This is a day after the African Liberation Day which falls on 25 May every year. It is observed as such across Africa. This obviously is symbolic of the new era for Africa. The cast theme of the inevitable emergence of the promise land movement is definitely and proudly Nkrumaism. The nation indeed is being psyched up for another CPP leadership era. Ghana must return to the great monumental days of progress under CPP leadership. Forward Ever! Nkunim woho mayen!! God bless us!!!

AUTHOR: Yaw Nkunim
Sculptor, Writer, Concept Developer &
CPP Member