Called "famine coffin", it's not a coffin, but a sculpture by Steven O'Loughlin to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the great Irish potato famine that killed a million and forced the emigration of a million and a half more out of a total population of 8 million.
The artist explains
Each panel the coffin has various scenes dealing with the famine. The outside deals with immigration and the inside has the famine scenes. On the cover is a celtic cross with figures and spiral patterns. At the base of the cross two sad figures cradle a withered potato plant. Each cross arm has people praying for relief. The top section has a resurrection scene symbolizing their rebirth to their struggle of life in America. The right side shows immigrants boarding ships bound for America. The top side has a group of immigrants enduring the rugged Atlantic crossing. The faces for this panel were taken from photos and paintings of the famine period. The left side shows the immigrants arriving in America where they begin to assimilate into the bustling city.
Many of the scenes on the coffin were taken from newspaper articles and eyewitness accounts of the famine.
Steve lives in Los Angeles and says of his art
The multi-cultural tone of the art is meant to symbolise the mix of cultures we live in. Mexican, Celtic, Asian, and African styles are combined with freeways, airplanes and cityscapes. It is the intention of my work to show the universal patterns symbolized in these ancient art forms at work in our modern world. Certainly Celtic art is one of my dominate influences.
I love his work which is very post modern and witty what with subjects like alien abduction, rodeos, freeway traffic, angels and airplanes all in his very distinctive style.