Paa Joe

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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 artists of his generation. He has been involved since 1989, and has been included in major 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 with a sandal coffin in collaboration with Regula Tschumi for the Kunstmuseum Berne 2006

Paa Joe began his career with a twelve-year apprenticeship as a coffin artist in the workshop of Kane Kwei (1924–1992) in Teshie.[1] 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. In 2007, Paa Joe moved his workshop from Nungua to Pobiman (Greater Accra) where he works with his sons Jacob and several other collaborators. In 2013, Paa Joe was invited for a six-week residency to Nottingham, Great Britain.


2016 "Paa Joe and the Lion". An Artdocs film by Benjamin Wigley and Anna Griffin (producer), Nottingham, GB.

Group exhibitions (selection)[edit]

  • 2017 Fondation Cartier Paris
  • 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)[edit]

  • 2014 Regula Tschumi: Concealed Art. The figurative palanquins and coffins of Ghana. Edition Till Schaap, Bern. ISBN 978-3-03828-099-6.
  • 2014 Regula Tschumi: The buried treasures of the Ga: Coffin art in Ghana. Edition Till Schaap, Bern. ISBN 978-3-03828-016-3. A revised and updated second edition of Benteli 2008.
  • 2013 Regula Tschumi: The Figurative Palanquins of the Ga. History and Significance, in: African Arts, vol. 46, 4, p. 60-73.
  • 2015 Paa Joe and the Lion, a film by Ben Wigley (director) and Anna Griffin (producer), Notthingham, GB.
  • 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.


  1. ^ Jansen, Charlotte (24 November 2016). "How Ghana's top fantasy coffin artist has put the fun in funeral". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2016.

External links[edit]