Fantastic Coffins from Ghana

10 August to 27 October 2019

Like life, like death! Since the 1950s a worldwide unique funeral culture has developed in Ghana. The custom of burying deceased relatives in figurative coffins for the journey to the world beyond is unique. Usually the form of the coffins has something to do with this world: it reminds of the life lived, the personality and the professional life of the deceased. A cocoa fruit, onion or pepper are very popular with farmers and vegetable sellers.

The so-called Tro-Tro, a Ghanaian means of transport in Ghana in the form of a minibus, or shared taxis, which is an indispensable part of the streets of Ghana and an inexpensive means of transport for many people, is also much loved for the "Last Journey". There are no limits to customer wishes and even the most unusual ideas are created by the wood artists in their manufactory. So it is no wonder that such objects have arrived in the international art scene. But what is it about these artistic coffins? "People believe that things will continue in the afterlife," says Jacob Tetteh Ashong, "so you give the dead something to take with them. Ashong is the son of the most famous Ghanaian coffin artist, Paa Joe (born 1947), whose works have been on display since the 1990s.

The works can be shown at art exhibitions worldwide and purchased for collections. The custom of burying the deceased in artfully and precisely crafted fruits, cars, bottles, animals, etc., has become an integral part of sumptuous festivities and elaborate funeral rituals in southern Ghana. The coloured coffins form the visual highlight. The exhibition presents in a special exhibition the generous donation, which was handed over to the Museum of Sepulchral Culture in December 2018.

Opening on Friday, 9 August 2019, at 7:30 pm.

Museumscafe, Museum für Sepulkralkultur

Ensemble ADESA; Fotograf: Metzner