Born 1945, Akwapim, Ghana
Paa Joe's sculpted coffins blur the line between art and craft. Each work is carefully constructed to reflect the ambition or the trade of the person for whom it was made. They are not dead things but are instead a manifestation of and indeed an affirmation of life. The works are wholly African and are a contemporary embodiment of traditional tribal burial rituals and art practice. They link back to pre-colonial West African sculpture but also recall the pomp and extravagance of ancient Egyptian royal tombs. In contemporary Western art practice the coffins recall Jeff Koons. They too are kitsch - Paa Joe, like Koons, plays with scale and with a work like the Jet, with material and commercial ostentation. The foremost sculpted coffin maker of his generation, Paa Joe apprenticed with Kane Kwei – who is credited with beginning the 20th century tradition of figurative coffins. Paa Joe's work is held in museum collections around the world including the British Museum in London.