Paa Joe (with family name Joseph Ashong) is a Ghanaian figurative palanquin and fantasy coffin artist born 1947 in the region Akwapim belonging to the Ga-Adangbe people, Greater Accra Region in Ghana. Paa Joe is considered one of the most important Ghanaian coffin artist of his generation. He was involved sind 1989 in major art exhibitions in Europe, Japan and the USA. His fantasy coffins are in the collections of many art museums worldwide, including the British Museum in London.
Paa Joe started with 15 years his ten-year apprenticeship as a coffin artist in the workshop of Kane Kwei (1924–1992) in Teshie. In 1976 Paa Joe started his own business in Nungua. He trained many young artists like Daniel Mensah (Hello), Eric Kpakpo or Kudjoe Affutu who have also become very successful fantasy coffin artists. 2007 Paa Joe moved his workshop from Nungua to Pobiman (Greater Accra) where he still works with his two sons Jacob and Isaac. In 2013 Paa Joe was invited for a 6 weeks residency to Nottingham, Great Britain.
Group exhibitions (selection)
- 2012 Brooklyn Museum
- 2012 Southbank,UK
- 2011 Salon 94 New York
- 2011 Jack bell Galley, UK
- 2011 V&A museum UK.
- 2010/11 "Living and Dying Gallerie" British Museum London
- 2007/2008 Six Feet Under, Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden
- 2006 Melbourne Festival
- 2006 Six Feet Under, Kunstmuseum Bern
- 2005 Jack Shainman Gallery, New York City
- 2003 Schokolade, die süsse Verführung, Museum für Völkerkunde Basel
- 2002 Autolust, Stapferhaus Lenzburg, Switzerland
- 1989 Les Magiciens de la terre, Centre Pompidou, Paris
List of references, media (selection)
- 2013 Regula Tschumi: The Figurative Palanquins of the Ga. History and Significance, in: African Arts, vol. 46, 4, p. 60-73.
- 2012/13. Paa Joe and the Lion, a film by Ben Wigley (director) and Anna Griffin (producer), Notthingham, GB.
- 2008. Regula Tschumi. The Buried Treasures of the Ga. Coffin Art in Ghana. Bern. Benteli, p. 52-113; 229.
- 2006. Regula Tschumi: Last Respect, First Honoured. Ghanaian Burial Rituals and Figural Coffins". In: Kunstmuseum Bern (Hg.): Six Feet Under. Exhibition Catalogue. Kerber, Bielefeld & Leipzig, p. 114-125.
- 2004. Regula Tschumi: A Report on Paa Joe and the Proverbial Coffins of Teshie and Nungua, Ghana. In: Africa e Mediterraneo, no 47-48, p. 44-47.
- Thierry Secretan: Going into darkness, Hazan 1995.
- PAA JOE in: Eine fantastische Himmelsreise - Särge aus Ghana
- Paa Joe: The Ghanan coffin maker, Artikel von Achola Rosario in The Independent (Uganda) vom 20. Januar 2012