San Francisco (PRWEB UK) 27 August 2014
An unusual birthday tradition continued on August 23rd with the unveiling of a fantasy coffin from Ghana in Livermore, California, a suburb outside of San Francisco.
Brothers Steve Barton and John Barton commissioned the fantasy coffin – the first of its kind to be delivered to the US – in the shape of a TAB soda can from Ghana’s most famous fantasy coffin artist, Paa Joe.
Paa Joe’s fantasy coffin art is in The British Museum and the subject of an upcoming documentary by Ben Wigley. See the links below for details:
The tradition of fantasy coffins comes from the Ga tribe in coastal Ghana where funerals are a time of mourning and celebration. The Ga makes sure that when their loved ones move on to another life, they do so in style. This includes brightly coloured coffins that celebrate the way they lived. Coffins are designed to represent an aspect of the dead person's life such as a car if they were a driver, a fish if their livelihood was the sea, or a can of TAB if they are obsessed with diet soda.
There is a more serious art collecting aspect to this gift. British-based art historian and anthropologist Sean O'Neill commented: "The rising zeitgeist in Europe appears to be a penchant for collecting Third World art; the United States has lagged behind on this trend. At the same time, there has been a strong tradition in western art of memento mori from the late Medieval era through to Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst. With this commission, collector and philanthropist Steve Barton is redressing the balance for America and at the same time, upholding a very ancient European tradition. It will be interesting to monitor its impact on the art scene there."
Steve Barton from Communications agency, Advokator, added, "One wonders what Andy Warhol might have made of a TAB can, fantasy coffin in 2014 next to his ‘Coca-Cola’ painting that sold at Christie's in New York for $57.3 million in 2013?"
The fantasy coffin presentation reflects a tradition with the Barton family of celebrating significant birthdays via macabre gifts with a humorous twist – such as a funereal bouquet (delivered to work), tombstone, and urn. The fantasy coffin was presented to Lisa at an event to mark her 50th birthday. Lisa's response, "My brothers took the tradition to a whole new level with the fantasy coffin. But the truth is that this is a beautiful piece of African folk art."
The next significant birthday will be John Barton's 60th. Lisa and Steve Barton would not be drawn in terms of their plans.