Paa Joe and The Lion

  • Paa Joe and The Lion
    (commission)

    Paa Joe, subject of filmmaker Ben Wigley‘s recent documentary “Paa Joe: Dead Not Buried“, is a Ghanaian master craftsman and the Grandfather of the fantasy coffin trade. Since the age of 16, Paa Joe has been carving coffins that represent the lives of the people for whom they are made – a Coca Cola bottle for a street vendor, or a lion for the head of a family. Unfortunately Paa Joe’s livelihood recently came under threat when he was forced to move his premises from the funeral district to the outskirts of his village due to unaffordable rental increases. Struggling to get the business he used to yet desperately wanting to continue his trade, he is now seeking success in the contemporary art world in a bid to save his livelihood.  His coffins have been displayed at galleries across the world, including London’s Southbank Centre and The British Museum.

    In May 2013, Paa Joe undertook a month long artist residency at Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire in his first visit to England and only his second time outside of Africa. The residency culminated in a spectacular procession of his iconic Lion coffin through the National Trust grounds set to a soundscape inspired by Gha funerals.

    Text taken from LeftLion

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