From eagles and robots to wrenches and cruise ships, the artisans of Ghana’s Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop ensure decedents will be ushered to the afterlife in meticulously detailed coffins designed to fit the dearly departed’s lifestyle, in accordance with Ga-Adangme traditions.
Located in Teshie, a suburb near Ghana’s capital city of Accra, Kane Kwei’s craft workers have been designing, building, and exhibiting fantasy coffins (abebuu adekai, literally “receptacles of proverbs“) for over 60 years.
The studio is currently owned and run by (Seth) Kane Kwei’s grandson, Eric Adjetey Anang, who has continued his family’s longstanding practice of taking on apprentices a few times a year. Other artists whose careers were inspired or kickstarted by the work of Kane Kwei include Paa Joe, Daniel Mensah, Eric Kpakpo, and Ataa Oko.
More work by Ghanaian abebuu adekai artists:
☆ Kane Kwei Carpentry Workshop on Facebook
☆ The Globe and Mail: Ghana’s colourful coffins – a gallery
☆ BuzzFeed: 29 Amazing Custom Coffins from Ghana
☆ Jack Bell Gallery: The Work of Paa Joe
☆ coffins-from-ghana.de: Coffin exhibition (auf Deutsch)
☆ YouTube: KANE KWEI WORKS – Going out in Style
☆ Vimeo: Ataa Oko and the Spirits (en Français, English subtitles)
☆ The buried treasures of the Ga: Coffin art in Ghana, a book by anthropologist Regula Tschumi