University of Iowa

Art & the Afterlife: Fantasy Coffins by Eric Adjetey Anang

For the first time in over twenty years, the UIMA will present a solo exhibition of work by a contemporary African artist. Through an installation of six representational “fantasy coffins” by the Ghanaian artist Eric Adjetey Anang, as well as video-recorded interviews with Anang and other coffin-makers from Ghana, and gallery labels providing further context, Art & the Afterlife explores one of the most celebrated (and debated) forms of African art today. As the exhibition demonstrates, the “afterlife” of Anang’s work today refers at once to a funerary tradition among Ga peoples of southern Ghana and to an artistic practice that reconfigures the scope and meaning of mortality and cultural identity.

With generous support through the UI International Programs Major Projects Award, Anang will serve as a UIMA artist-in-residence this fall, from October 1 to November 18. Working in a space at the old Museum of Art, Anang will focus his residency upon the completion of two abebu adekai ("receptacles of proverbs" commonly referred to as fantasy coffins) for the UIMA permanent collection. During his time at UI, which overlaps with an exhibition of his work in the Black Box Theater, Anang will also work with UI students who enroll in "Topics in Sculpture: Journeys through Installations, Site Specific, and Objects (SCLP:3895:0001)," a course led by Isabel Barbuzza, professor of sculpture in dimensional practice. As part of the overall project with Anang, John Richard of Bocce Ball Films will also create a short film on key aspects of the residency, commission, exhibition, and fall lecture series. The UIMA will use the film for educational purposes in future exhibitions and events.

Exhibition Schedule: September 16 - December 10, 2017 | Black Box Theater, third floor, Iowa Memorial Union

Related Events

Exhibition Lecture: Victoria Rovine - "Fashion as Fine Art: African Expressions"
August 31, 2017 | 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Room 116, Art Building West

Jeanne & Richard Levitt Lectureship: American Crafts in Context, by Eric Adjetey Anang
September 21, 2017 | 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Room 240, Art Building West

Exhibition Lecture: Dr. Silvia Forni - "From the Street to the White Cube: The Multiple Trajectories of Ga Fantasy Coffins"
October 10, 2017 | 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Room 116, Art Building West

Exhibition Lecture: Dr. Matthew O'Neal - "Conservation Is Beautiful: The Art of Saving Insects"
October 26, 2017 | 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Room 116, Art Building West

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in a program, please contact UIMA in advance at 335-1727.