Culture is embedded in the way we live; our language, dress, cuisine, shelter, art and the many ceremonies and activities that preserve and prosper our community.
Our art and craft, our dress for ceremony; our products from local sources as well as imported raw material transformed into beautiful objects by local designers and artisans; strung cowries, beaded garments, hand-dyed cloth, trinkets or hand-woven fabric must have some pride of place in our lives. This helps create and sustain employment in local communities, generate decent income for our local creative and artisans, and lift the arts, culture and tourism sector.
Commodification of culture is an art and industry in itself. It is one of the few passions I determined to find expression for when I commenced a career in Media, Culture & Tourism at age 19. Sometimes all it takes to commodify an item for wealth creation is just finding a new, attractive way of using an already existing cultural product.
Fine examples arising from commodification of culture and items associated thereof include Egypt’s high-selling images of Queen Nefertiti, Wife of PharoahAkhenaten, the neck-tie with origins from Croatia, Kaba and slit -the Ghanaian seamstress’ creation for society events and response to the Colonial Brits’ ball gown, the audacious Gele from Nigeria, Beau Brummell’s trousers from England, Armani’s deconstructed suit from Italy, China’s definitive Mandarin collar, the best-selling moccasin for many shoe brands first worn by indigenous people of North America and with origins in the Algonquian language Powhatan, the Japanese kimono or gofuku transformed from the 8th to 11th century with the establishment of a STYLE of layering silk robes after deriving from the garments worn in China during the Wu dynasty, and the resplendent hand-loomed Kente, hand-carved Akuaba and Oware from Ghana as we know them today, were respectively pioneered by some individual with vision, perhaps to some ridicule and outrage from the start.
Still each of these has fulfilled dreams of beauty, catalyzed industry and created streams of income to feed multitudes to date.
Onwards and upwards overtly and covertly, one day at a time, promoting the art and craft of our fine artisans in wisdom, dignity and beauty
The writer is a multiple award-winning broadcaster, CEO of The Finest Productions and an expert in Media, Culture and Tourism. Kwasi Kyei Darkwah is affectionately called His Royal Blackness KKD The Finest. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Audio-Visual Production (Film & Television) from London Metropolitan University.
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