Nii Amon Kotei (24 May 1915 — 17 October 2011) was a Ghanaian artist (sculpture, painter, and musician) and surveyor. He is also the acclaimed designer of the coat of arms of Ghana. He was one of Ghana’s leading artists.
Kotei was awarded a scholarship at Achimota School and later received a scholarship to study art at the London School of Printing and Graphic Art from 1949 to 1952. During World War II, he served in the Royal West African Frontier Force and worked in the Cartographic Division of the Army drawing maps and plans for soldiers on the front lines.
As Independence Day drew near, the need for a coat of arms distinct from that o the imperial power – Great Britain, became acutely felt. To give a distinctive local flavor to the work, a Ghanaian working with the Government Printer was asked to put up a sketch for consideration. For his motives, Mr. Amon Kotei had the elephant and palm tree
His most notable contribution was the creation of Ghana’s National Coat of Arms on 4 March 1957. Kotei was commissioned by the British colonial government to replace the older badge which depicted an Elephant and a Palm tree; two symbols used throughout British West African colonies. After his initial design, under the government’s instruction, the Coat of Arms was sent to the Queen’s College of Heraldry for approval.
The Ghanaian coat of arms, found on all government official letter heads, is composed of a shield, divided into four quarters by a green St. George’s Cross, rimmed with gold.
I suggested the use of the Eagle because I had read over and over again of the famous Eagle and the Chick story. After months of hard work, Mr. Amon Kotei finally completed the drawing. When he compared it to other Coats of Arms, he was convinced that it was one of the best, a view shared by Cpt. hamilton, The British officer who laised between him and the Osu, Castle. It was approved with any hesitations
Kotei died on 17 October 2011. His contributions to Ghanaian art and heraldry were recognized by the Ghanaian parliament following his death.
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