A way to Go Paa Joe
The art of Paa Joe bucks any art historical or theoretical pigeonholing. Being deeply rooted in the Ghanaian tradition of celebrating death not as the end of life but rather its transition from a physical into a spiritual state, the artist creates joyful and humorous coffins, drawing inspiration from consumer culture, nature and everyday life.
Combining precision local craftmanship with worldy knowledge, Paa Joe approaches the heritage of his country from an inside-yet-outside view. In A way to Go, Coffins shaped like luxury fashion suitcases, stacks of Western currencies or technical gadgets used in creative production initially hide their value in use. When opened, a jest evolves that will only be found macabre by those stuck too deep in a grievous relation to death. The objects depicted by the coffins often played an important role in the physical life of the soul now occupying the artwork’s interior. Paa Joe makes sure they will also be present for the spiritual stage of life.