Figurative Coffins and FuneralsThe figurative coffins of the Ga people in Ghana are unique in the world. The shapes of these coffins often symbolize the dead people’s profession. But they can also represent a family totem and they may be related to a proverb. Design coffins have been used in the Greater Accra Region since the 1950s, and they have become an integral part of the local burial culture. Today, they are used even outside Ghana, and recently, they have also become very popular on the Western art market.
I have photographed these coffins and the funerals in Ghana since 2003. In all these years, I have seen many interesting changings in the funeral arts. Especially in the last 10 years, I was surprised with so many new coffin styles that were created by some young and very innovative coffin artists. There were also many changes in the funeral ceremonies, like the performances of the now-famous Nana Otafritsa and his coffin dancers.
In this album, I show a selection of figurative coffins that were created just recently by Eric Kpakpo or Kudjoe Affutu, who were both former apprentices of coffin artist Paa Joe.