|About the Book|
This dissertation includes an ethnographic study of the images of AIDS and People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) that emerge from artistic and cultural productions in Ghana, and a novel theoretical and practical model for creating artistic productionsMoreThis dissertation includes an ethnographic study of the images of AIDS and People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) that emerge from artistic and cultural productions in Ghana, and a novel theoretical and practical model for creating artistic productions that form and inspire new images, perceptions, attitudes and actions.-The images of AIDS and PLWHA that arouse from the works of cultural production studied, point to mixed and at times contrasting messages and disempowering images of PLWHA. Common models for creating entertainment-education on HIV/AIDS often recreate such images, target the individual and are concerned with delivering messages, using artists as deliverers. The model proposed in this dissertation represents a shift towards a more participatory, communal, and empowering approach, by moving from a narrow use of the entertainment qualities of performance to deliver a message, towards a broader and deeper use of art, making fuller use of the potential of art to imagine, empower, and provoke critical thought and discussion in the community. The shift occurs through four types of movements: Movement from messaging to critical thinking- from product oriented work towards process oriented work, from targeting the individual as the locus of change, to targeting the community- and from arousing compassion to inspiring empowerment. An essential component of the model is full and equal collaboration between artists and PLWHA.-The model is based on the Asetena Pa project designed and implemented by myself and my partner, Iddi Saaka, in Ghana, during 2006. The Asetena Pa project engaged local popular artists and PLWHA in an intensive process to collaboratively create and perform a Concert Party (local popular art form), and perform it in ten villages and towns in Ghana. Methodology for the study included: ethnography, praxis, theoretical inquiry, performance text analysis, and qualitative evaluation methods, primarily focus group discussions.-An analysis of the data shows that the Asetena Pa performance was found to be effective in stimulating dialogue, provoking thought, and inspiring some forms of action among audience members. However, its impact would likely increase significantly if local HIV services could be enhanced and some services made available at the premises of the performance, and if it could be followed up by subsequent interventions that would allow community discussions to occur repeatedly over an extended period of time.