Don’t even think about calling yourself a ‘sneakerhead’ unless you’ve died and gone to heaven in one of these bad boys: a Nike sneaker coffin, handcrafted by Joseph Tetteh Ashong, also known as Paa Joe.
Paa Joe, who is the most prolific coffin artist in Ghana, has made a name for himself for his creative and unique casket designs, including a Louis Vuitton x Supreme handbag, an old school Sony Walkman or a Nokia phone.
According to i-D, abebuu adekai or “fantasy coffins” are Ghanian tradition. Apparently, these elaborately-designed coffins “cater to families that believe in life after death and the designs often reference someone’s profession to reflect the belief that the deceased will continue their career in the afterlife.”
Paa Joe’s incredible designs have not only earned him thousands of Instagram followers, but his work has been exhibited in museums all over the world.
Speaking to i-D, Paa Joe said his most common design requests are “fish, cocoa pod and the Holy Bible.” He added that “People are usually buried in these coffins according to their careers, symbol, or what they’re addicted to. A businessman would be buried in a Mercedes or Porsche; a journalist goes with camera believing life still continues in the afterlife.”
As for the Nike sneaker coffins, Paa Joe told i-D they’re quite a recent request. “The shoe coffins are usually for manufacturers or lovers of a particular shoe or brand.”
Paa Joe makes his coffins from wood, “hardwood for art pieces and exhibitions and soft wood for burials,” and in the future would like to “build an art academy for local and international art students,” and to “build an art gallery for coffins.”
Paa Joe’s work is pretty awe-inspiring and a reminder that humans should be celebrated not only in life, but in death as well.