Nokia cell phone coffin

images for <I>Nokia cell phone coffin</I>
Label Text
Cell phones are used heavily in urban and rural areas across Africa, and their influence can be seen in such diverse art forms as factory printed textiles and coffins. This particular coffin was commissioned for Africa.dot.com: Drums to Digital, an exhibition that toured the United States in 2008.
Popularized in the mid-1950s by the Ghanaian artist Kane Kwei (1922-1992), fantasy coffins range in subject from a farmer's onion to a rich man's Mercedes. Each imaginative form illustrates an important aspect of the deceased's life. A traveler might be interred in an airplane, for example, or a market woman might be buried in a coffin shaped like one of the chili peppers she sold. Today, such coffins are created for local use and for export to international museums and galleries. Artist Samuel Nartey opened his woodworking shop in the Teshi-Nungua region of Ghana after studying for 11 years with Paa Joe (born 1945), Kane Kwei's star apprentice.
Life-size lidded coffin, predominantly green and brown in color, made in the shape of a Nokia cell phone and painted with a faux keyboard and a display screen reading "Hello." The interior of the coffin is lined with fabric.
Exhibition History
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013-ongoing (installed September 17, 2015)
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013-ongoing (deinstalled April 10, 2014)
African Mosaic: Celebrating a Decade of Collecting, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2010-November 13, 2013
Africa.Dot.Com: Drums 2 Digital; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, February 6-June 1, 2008
Published References
Kirkham, Pat and Susan Weber (eds). 2013. History of Design: Decorative Arts and Material Culture, 1400-2000. New York: Bard Graduate Center; New Haven: Yale University Press, p. 554, no. 22.12.
Stokes, Deborah. 2013. National Museum of African Art School Programs: The Arts Can Take You Places! Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, p. 3.
Topic
Funerary
Writing
hand
National Museum of African Art
Samuel Narh Nartey, n.d., Ghana
Ga artist
Credit Line
Anonymous donor
Medium
Wood, paint, cloth
Dimensions
H x W x D: 180.3 x 58.4 x 36.8cm (71 x 23 x 14 1/2in.)
See more items in
National Museum of African Art Collection
Exhibition
African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection
On View
NMAfA, First Level North Galleries (1130-1134)
Geography
Teshi-Nungua, Ghana
2007
Type
Sculpture
Object number
2009-3-1