In some regions of Ghana, it is typical for the shape and style of a coffin to make a personal statement by reflecting the profession, interests, or characteristics of the deceased. The mother of many children, for example, might have a coffin in the shape of a hen with chicks. In this case it is a Nike sneaker, a symbol of status and modernity in the late 20th century. As people make the transition from one world to the unknown next, an object (a coffin) representing another object (in this case, a shoe) provides comforting familiarity.
Coffin in the Form of a Sneaker (1990) by Paa Joe was Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum.
I once owned a pair of plain, no-frills, black leather Nike sneakers, and they were pretty cool. I wore them until they disintegrated off my feet. You can’t even buy regular Nike’s anymore. Now they all look like this. Rad.
Backstory: It’s not always easy to lure me out of the Chickpad on a weeknight, but just last evening I hopped the M21 bus to Houston and Elizabeth Street to hang out at a listening party for the new album by some band called Motion City Soundtrack — a group of unwashed-looking guys pushing thirty who sing songs about what it’s like to be 15 years old and have “problems.” Aside from the fact that the party was held in a place where you have to make an appointment to custom design your own over-priced Nike sneakers, attendees were promised an “open bar” and snacks, so it really could have been any crappy band and I would have been there, because free food is free food. Continue reading Worst TV Show Ever: Hey Paula→