SARCOPHAGUS, Ghanaian Style, or the Funeral of a Dreamer

Video installation

Among hosts of inevitable events stored for every one living, none is so mystifying in its essence than the phenomenon of death. Since the time immemorial, the very fact of death spurred the human fantasy and accounted for the great variety of its externalization in various religions, arts, mythology, philosophy and folklore. This mystery inspired the outstanding architectural monuments scattered all over the world – Egyptian monumental pyramids and sphinxes, tombs and necropolises; the mausoleum of Halicarnassus; temples of Aztec, Olmec and Mayan peoples in the pre-Columbian America; such famous entombments as Taj Mahal and the monument of Great Akbar.

Most cultures have religious and philosophic systems, rituals and certain principles of social order that facilitate the living to accept the death of their neighbor. The perception of death by the inhabitants of Ghana is kind of peculiar, which served as an impetus to the shaping of conception of the present exhibition. For them, death is by no means a mournful event but a logical completion of one’s life’s journey. The funeral is a feast in honor of a well-lived life.

The coffin plays a special role in ceremonies. A fisherman’s coffin, for instance, resembles a graphic fish, that of a farmer looks like a huge chicken, and if the dead man took pride in his car, skillful Ghanaian undertakers offer him a chance to be buried in a Mercedes or a Buick.
Objects vary from jewelry to video installation borrowing this idea from Ghanaian peasants and dreaming on into artists’ own funeral.

Related links:
“Sarcophagus, Ghanaian Style, or The funeral of a Dreamer” May 4th 2005- May 28th 2005 Berliner Kunstprojekt gallery (Berlin)