New UA Little Rock art exhibits feature coffins from Ghana, contemporary British ceramics, and permanent collection

Eric Adjetey Anang stands in front of one of his coffins that will be featured in the exhibit "Celebrating Death: Fantasy Coffins of Ghana."

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock will open three new free public art exhibits beginning Thursday, Jan. 16, at the university’s Windgate Center of Art and Design. 

The new exhibits will feature fantasy coffins designed by the Ghanan artist Eric Adjetey Anang, contemporary British studio ceramics from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, and objects from UA Little Rock’s permanent art collection.

A reception for the three exhibits will be held Thursday, Jan. 30, from 6-8:30 p.m. in Windgate Center 101.

The UA Little Rock Art Galleries are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

For more information, contact Gallery Director Brad Cushman at 501-569-8977 or becushman@ualr.edu.

Celebrating Death: Fantasy Coffins of Ghana by Eric Adjetey Anang

The first exhibit, “Celebrating Death: Fantasy Coffins of Ghana by Eric Adjetey Anang,” will be on display from Jan. 16 to Feb. 28 in the Small Gallery in the Windgate Center. Members of the public may attend a free lecture with Anang and Lynne Larsen, UA Little Rock assistant professor of art, at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27, in Windgate Center 101. 

Born in Teshie, on the coast of Ghana, Anang began helping in his family’s carpentry workshop at age 8. Anang is a third-generation coffin-maker who became an apprentice at the family business after graduating high school and took over Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop at age 20. Along with his father and apprentices, he passionately stewards his family’s legacy as he refines and elevates this culturally significant art form.

Anang’s work has been shown in exhibitions across West Africa and Europe and is held in private collections across the globe. Since 2008, Anang has participated in a dozen residencies, conducted workshops, and has been featured in multiple documentaries worldwide. He maintains a dual residency in Madison, Wisconsin, and Teshie, Ghana, where he continues to produce coffins for funerary patrons, art collections, and museum collections.

Contemporary British Studio Ceramics from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection

Gordon Baldwin's untitled hand-built, glazed, and slip-decorated earthenware will be featured in "Contemporary British Studio Ceramics from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection."
Gordon Baldwin’s untitled hand-built, glazed, and slip-decorated earthenware will be featured in “Contemporary British Studio Ceramics from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection.”

UA Little Rock will host an exhibit of contemporary British studio ceramics from Jan. 16 through March 7 in the Brad Cushman Gallery in the Windgate Center. Drawn from the Arkansas Arts Center Foundation Collection, this exhibit contains examples of 20th century studio ceramics. The majority of these works were gifts from Diane and Sanford Besser and range from functional wares, including bowls and teapots, to purely sculptural forms.

The exhibit illustrates a rich variety of technique and forms represented, including slab-building, hand-building, and wheel throwing as well as neriage and nerikomia, traditional Japanese methods using clay. The ceramic objects also represent a diverse range of finishes, including glazed, slip-inlaid, and burnished surfaces.

The exhibit will feature a guest lecture by the exhibit’s curator and writer, Glenn Adamson, at 6 p.m. Jan. 30 in Windgate Center 101 and a panel discussion at 10 a.m. Jan. 31 in Windgate Center 101. The discussion, “Community in the Making: Expanding the Craft Field,” was organized in conjunction with Adamson and Jan Padgett, assistant curator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Objects from the UA Little Rock Permanent Collection

UA Little Rock will also present an exhibition of art from its permanent collection from Jan. 16 to March 7 in the Brad Cushman Gallery Installation Annex in the Windgate Center.

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