Allison W. Gray

Publication Date

Spring 1996


Ghanaian culture is composed of an endless number of different aspects, all of which are intertwined to the extent that one can hardly decipher between them. During my studies at my home university, I came to discover that it is often impossible to separate African art and African religion, visual art and performing art, and even religion from politics in Africa. Upon arriving in Ghana, I found this to be true and realized just how hard it is to separate these entities, in their complex system of overlap. I chose to study the fishing canoes because I wanted to study an artform that was tightly intertwined with other aspects of the culture including religion, politics, social activity, and economics. I knew that there must be something great behind the names and symbols adorning these boats. Little did I know, though, that all of these cultural aspects and the canoe decoration revolve around one central concept: relationships.