Africa at Noon on November 4. 2015

Conversations: Fantasy Coffin Tradition and Innovation

Eric Adjetey Anang
Visiting Ghanaian Artist
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Mary Hark
Associate Professor, School of Human Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Thomas Loeser
Professor, Art Department
University of Wisconsin-Madison

Download Poster (pdf)

Time and Location

12:00pm, 206 Ingra­ham Hall, 1155 Obser­va­tory Drive, Madi­son, WI


Eric  Adjetey Anang will participate in a conversation with art professor and wood sculptor Tom Loeser, who with support of the Art Department and the Windgate Foundation is hosting Eric’s residency on campus, and Mary Hark, Design Studies, who spends time in Ghana each year.


Eric Adjetey Anang is a third generation fantasy coffin builder whose work responds to popular culture and addresses social issues. His fantastically designed coffins are sought out by Ghanaian’s for use in funerals and increasingly are being collected internationally by museums and art centers. In recent years Mr. Anang has taken on the project of finding the all works of his father and grandfather that where collected and sent out of Ghana in the eighties and nineties, and recording the stories that accompany these works.

Mary Hark is a professor in Design Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. An independent curator of textile and paper art exhibitions, she is proprietor of HARK! Handmade Paper Studio which specializes in small editions of high quality flax and linen papers. Hark’s fiber/mixed media paintings have been exhibited internationally. She has lectured and taught at art departments nationally including Penland School of Craft, Haystack School of Craft, Women’s Studio Workshop, and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. Awarded a Fulbright Senior Research Grant in 2006 to work and study in Ghana, West Africa, Mary continues to have strong ties there. She developed a papermaking workshop in Kumasi which exclusively uses local materials, and she is one of the founders of Take Time Press, a limited-edition, fine-press publisher which nurtures international artist collaborations and celebrates the cultural richness of the Greater Ashanti Region of Ghana.

Tom Loeser runs the undergraduate and graduate programs in the Wood/Furniture Area in the Art Department.  He recently completed 5 years as chair of the art department.  The most fun and rewarding thing he does in the wood program is administer the Windgate Artist in Residence program.  The program provides a workspace and excellent funding to allow an artist to function as a role model by concentrating intensively on their artwork with no formal teaching responsibilities.  Eric Adjetey Anang is the 14th full-semester artist in residence funded by this program.