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Tropen 1 (Ghana Coffin)

JULY 16, 2008
The first artifact was this fish coffin from Ghana, year 2000
What is your dream job? We all get asked that question at one point in our lives, usually during college. Well, I could not have thought this one up in my wildest dreams. I was contacted by Saatchi & Saatchi (Amsterdam) to work on a series of posters for the Tropen Museum in Amsterdam. They had 5 new artifacts and wanted to illustrate the story behind each of them. I really enjoy researching for my projects, especially about natural history and this job seemed too good to be true.
The people from Southern Ghana believe that when their loved ones die, they move on into another life—and they make sure they do so in style. They honor their dead with brightly colored wooden coffins that celebrate the way they lived. The 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 hammer for a carpenter. I wish we had the same tradition.
sketch 1
sketch 2
sketch 3
final drawing
final oil painting 18" x 24"
Close-up 1
Close-up 2
The final poster. As discussed the colors were muted so the photo of the artifact placed on top would stand out.
Poster at a bus stop in Amsterdam
© 2021 Chris Buzelli