The coffin art of the Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop

An insider view of Accra's iconic coffin art – made famous internationally by Ghanaian artist Paa Joe

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  • Fish caskets at the workshop

    Fish caskets at the workshop
  • Flour bag, at Artists Alliance

    Flour bag, at Artists Alliance
  • Animals, at Artists Alliance

    Animals, at Artists Alliance
  • ‘Untitled’ by Paa Joe, 2010

    © Will Amlot

    As featured in the exhibition 'Paa Joe: Taking It with You', 2010, at the Jack Bell Gallery, London

    ‘Untitled’ by Paa Joe, 2010
  • Bottle, at the workshop

    Bottle, at the workshop
  • A coffin crafter in action

    A coffin crafter in action
  • Meet your maker...

    Meet your maker...

Fish caskets at the workshop


Friday 15th November – until Monday 11th December

Exhibition Hall, Alliance Francaise Accra

Eric Adjetey Anang is dedicated to develop the art initiated by his grandfather Seth Kane Kwei in the 50s. Recognized in Ghana as a coffin maker, he is renowned abroad as an artist and a designer. He is regularly invited to present his work at international events, works with Western designers and is involved in educational projects.

There's nothing like a colourful send-off... The tradition of crafting elaborate, vibrant caskets for the dearly departed is a relatively new one - hence the playful, sometimes postmodern aspects to the work of coffin-maker par excellence Paa Joe (whose inflatable Disney-consumerist coffin sculpture, recently on display in the UK, could give Jeff Koons a run for his money on the international art scene).

The 'fantasy' coffin making trade emerged in the Teshie suburb of Accra in the '50s, around the time of independence. It was pioneered by Seth Kane Kwei, who took commissions from grieving family members and ran with them. Kwei died in 1992 but bequeathed a new, iconic style to African contemporary art. The Kane Kwei Carpentery Workshop - along with a number of other designer-coffin producers in Ghana - is as busy as ever today, and Time Out was allowed a peek under the lid...

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1 comments
Jacob T
Jacob T

please there is a difference between Paa Joe's workshop and art from Kane kwei's. please check that and correct it.