Design Coffins, Not Such a Bad Way to Go…

Believe it or not this friendly colorful sculpture is a coffin! This particular work of art was made by the design shop of the Ghanaian master carpenter Paa Joe (seen right). Paa Joe was an apprentice to Seth Kane Kwei, who is thought to be the inventor of African design/fantasy coffins back in the 50’s. This tradition seems to have grown from a delightful story of a loving son who want his mother to have the world. Kane Kwei’s mother had always dreamed of flying in a plane. Living as a poor woman in Teshie, in the suburbs of Accra in Ghana, she of course would never be able to afford such an expense. Here loving son however created for her a beautiful wooden airplane in which would carry her in her final journey. When she did pass, she was buried in the plane coffin Kane Kwei made for her. It is no surprise that the community fell in love with symbolic gesture and thus the tradition was born.

Today there are several carpentry workshops that create these stunning works of art and the beauty of these funerary masterpieces has been acknowledged across the world. Exhibitions of the design coffins have been seen in Galleries in the US, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland and the list goes on. Currently Paa Joe is showing some of his works in London at the Jack Bell Gallery. I think that they bring a wonderful sense of peace and joy to an otherwise morbid and sad event. Design coffins

If you are interested in learning more about the design coffins, click here.

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