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The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness

Jack Shainman Gallery is pleased to announce The Coffins of Paa Joe and the Pursuit of Happiness, two inter-related showsat the gallery’s Chelsea location and The School located in Kinderhook, NY.

Serving as the centerpiece of the large-scale exhibition, The Gold Coast Slave Castles of Paa Joe honor the Ghanaian legacy of abebuu adekai, or fantasy coffins. The ornate sarcophagi celebrate death and the afterlife, sculpted in the form of objects representative of the deceased and their interests. In the 1950s, abebuu adekai were used only by chiefs and priests, but more recently have become a growing trend in surrounding areas of Ghana, attracting the attention of contemporary art museums and galleries worldwide. In 2004, Claude Simard, the late co-founder of Jack Shainman Gallery, commissioned thirteen coffins in the form of European castles erected along the Gold Coast in the 15###sup/sup### century, which served as holding pens for America-bound slaves. These sculptures memorialize the captives in the custom of abebuu adekai, and recall the bleak American history that helped to integrate human suffering with Western tradition. 

For more information please contact: Victoria Kung, SUTTON,, 212.202.3402

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