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Watch: Paa Joe, Ghanaian Master Craftsman and Grandfather of the ‘fantasy coffin’

Juxtapoz // Wednesday, 08 May 2013

We didn't know that there was such a thing as "fantasy coffins," much less that there was a grandfather of the craft and that two US presidents have visited the Ghanaian master craftsman who holds the title! Paa Joe, has been hand-crafting coffins into anything from lions, airplanes, tanks, and even Coca-Cola bottles for almost 50 years. The intricate, month long intensive process produces a work of art that is then buried under the ground, never to be seen again. Since 2008 his business declined to the point that he had to move into a dusty roadside shack from his central Accra-based workshop. Paa is now the subject of a documentary, Paa Joe and the Lion.

"Encouraged by his mother to become a coffin maker, Ashong has been learning his craft – a strong tradition in Ghana - since he was 16-years-old, taking his cue from his mentor and the founder of the craft, Kane Kwei. The fantasy coffin trade has been a strong tradition in the Ga community for several decades, linking back to pre-colonial West African sculpture but also recalling the pomp of Egyptian royal funerals." - The Independent (Read the full article here)

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