Kwamina Kurefi Edonu, Emmanuel Kwadwo Opoku


It is assumed that the fame of certain personalities in Ghana, Africa and the world has grown to iconic proportions and that they are well known both by name and physiognomy. However, there is no certainty that the Ghanaian public is visually aware of the physiognomy of these icons, and can easily recognise and identify them from their illustrated portraits. This study attempts to investigate people’s ability to recognise and identify iconic personalities from their illustrated portraits, through a survey of the sampled population in the Accra and Kumasi metropolises of Ghana. The sampled population consisted of 400 respondents made up of 200 each from Accra and Kumasi. The sample for each metropolis consisted of 50 JHS, 50 SHS, 50 tertiary students and 50 members of the general public outside the school system. Variations of illustrated portraits of three iconic persons were presented for identification. Most respondents especially, the JHS, SHS and the general public categories could not identify most of the images. This is as a result of their level of education, age, and knowledge of historical and current issues as well as the low level of publicity given to some of the iconic personalities. Again, most respondents in all the categories were not able to identify most silhouette drawings, with the exception of one in which the personality had distinct characteristics. This indicates that silhouette drawings may not be an ideal way of presenting portrait illustrations for identification. Results from the research has shown that the ability to recognise and identify iconic personalities is dependent on one’s level of education, knowledge of historical issues and age. It also depends on the level of publicity an iconic personality enjoys, what he or she does and nationality. The technique used in rendering portrait illustrations of iconic persons also influences people’s ability to recognise and identify those iconic personalities.


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iconography, physiognomy, iconic personalities, portraits, Ghana

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.46827/ejes.v9i3.4213


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