Book on Ghanaian funeral fashion to be launched

BY: John Owoo/Daily Graphic/Ghana

Internationally- acclaimed ethnomusicologist, Prof. Kwabena Nketia, will on Thursday, November 14, 2013 launch a 217-page art book realised through collaboration by Professors Irene Odotei  and  Lisa Meier at the Goethe-Institute in Accra.

Titled: Funeral Fashion in Ghana’, the book vigorously captures through images and text, the richness and diversity of funeral cultures in Ghana while laying bare influences from religion, development and technology.


The images of a costume design lecturer at the University of the Arts in Berlin (Germany), Meier,  emanate a kind of cumulative manuscript that point to a record of traditional and contemporary funeral history, whose significance may be found after a close and detailed scrutiny.

What appear to be systematic photos of diverse scenes from numerous funerals show Meier, who is a native of Switzerland, as a photographer who approaches her work in equal parts, as she cautiously strides time and characteristics to repost the history of a splendid tradition.

Indeed, her work with funeral fashion tends to stand at the interface of tradition and modernity. She presents vivid images of mourners in assorted traditional and contemporary clothes with an incredible attention to detail in respect of designs on the fabrics.

Despite an intense, technical and inventive technique to showcase the substance of funeral fashion, she equally captures religious ceremonies, traditional rites, parade of chiefs, firing of musketry and music / dance performances.

Text by Odotei, a worldwide-celebrated historian and currently the president of the Historical Society of Ghana, is replete with information on Ghanaian funerals. As an acclaimed authority on the subject, she offers a brilliant analysis to satisfy intellectual, as well as other appetites.

A former head of the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana (Legon), she brings to the fore, the multiplicity and complexity of funerals, connotation of clothes as, well as the perceptible and imperceptible cultural heritage of Ghana.

With meticulously chosen parts of the funeral culture in Ghana, Odotei takes us back to history (where she belongs) and calculatedly brings us back to contemporary times through a concise brief on the use technology - such as the internet and mobile phones

The Funeral Fashion in Ghana is published by Switzerland-based art book publishing firm,  Edition Patrick Frey.


As partners of the project, the Goethe-Institut in Ghana is organising and supporting the launch which will also feature flutist Dela Botri and his Hewale Sounds band rendering  Ghanaian funeral music.