Paa Joe is working to revive his once thriving business of producing fantasy coffins to Ghana’s deceased, as well as collectors worldwide.
Paa Joe creates the kind of art that is intended to be six feet under with a dead body inside. But this coffin artist makes more than just a pine box, and his work can be found in private collections and museums around the world.
The 2016 documentary Paa Joe and The Lion following Paa Joe and his son Jacob’s work to revive the once thriving business is now available to stream on Amazon Video in the US.
From the film’s website:
Paa Joe dreams of his bygone days — bringing money home in briefcases and work being shipped to galleries the world over. Now, he sleeps as the cars hurtle passed. There are no customers, no tourists — there are no coffins to make. His son, Jacob, dreams too, he dreams of returning his father to his glory days and rebuilding the family legacy together. Over the next four years they stand side-by-side, conquering love and death and embracing a life changing opportunity to travel to the UK to undertake an artist residency. It is the start of their future together — master and son… Paa Joe & The Lion
Death is celebrated in Ghana, where Paa Joe once made a living on this unique tradition of sending the deceased off in extravagant coffins that represented their lives.
“It reminds people that life continues after death,” Jacob told The Guardian in 2016, “that when someone dies they will go on in the afterlife, so it is important that they go in style.”