The artist Ataa Oko Addo from La in Ghana was a pioneer of the now world-famous Ghanaian coffin art. In 2002, after his meeting with the Swiss ethnologist Regula Tschumi, the former coffin artist began to draw at the age of over 80. Thus, until his death, he created a unique graphic oeuvre that gives the Western viewer an insight into the culture of Ghana and into the spiritual world of the artist.
The artist Ataa Oko Addo was born in 1919 in the coastal town of La in Ghana and grew up there without schooling. In his youth he first worked as a fisherman, then completed a carpentry apprenticeship in Accra from 1936 to 1939. Already around 1945 Oko began to produce his first figurative coffins. With these works, which were still quite unusual in the 1950s, he quickly became famous throughout the coastal region. Today Ataa Oko is considered a pioneer of Ghanaian coffin art. From 2004 to 2012, the artist also devoted himself to drawing. His work is now partly owned by the Collection de l'Art Brut in Lausanne.
Ethnologist and photographer Regula Tschumi works freelance in the field of museums and art. After several years of field research among the Ga ethnic group in southern Ghana, she received her PhD in ethnology from the University of Basel in 2012 with a thesis on the figural palanquins and coffins of the Ga. Her special interests are African religions and the artistic forms of expression associated with them.