The University of Iowa Museum of Art says, “Original works of art are doorways to new worlds.” The fantasy caskets of Eric Adjetey Anang, now on display there in “Art & the Afterlife: Fantasy Coffins,” give more than one meaning to that quote. Ghanaian artist Anang is a third-generation sculptor/coffin maker and the first contemporary African artist to have a solo exhibition at the museum in twenty years.
The fantasy coffins are called "abebaum adekai", or "receptacles of proverbs". The ones one display include an airplane, a bumblebee, a hot pepper, a shoe, and an ear of corn.
The ear of corn coffin was sponsored by Michael Lensing of Lensing Funeral Home and Cremation-- an Iowa City business. Lensing loaned the coffin to the exhibition. The sculpture was created by Iowa State University engineering students in Ames in collaboration with Anang.
A sculpture is created for a deceased person’s journey into the afterworld, but as with anything so creative and aesthetic, these sculptures also are celebrated in the art world.
The Museum of Art is still located in its post-2008-flood digs in the Iowa Memorial Union. You have through December 10 to see this exhibition. If you’re coming to Iowa City for a Hawkeye football game, put this exhibition on your agenda.
And if you are in town Thursday, September 21, Eric Adjetey Anang will give a presentation on his work at 7:30 in 240 Art Building West.
Thinking about death has never been so beautiful.