Collaboration Culture travels to Ghana where British artist teams up with Ghanain coffin sculptor

The style of my work is all sorts of things really, but it’s quite ramshackle. I do knock things together quite quickly. I like the idea that most of it has been made by me, and painted by me."Bob and Roberta Smith
Date: 26.06.2012     Last updated: 18.03.2014 at 18.12
Category: BBC World News
A new seven-part series on BBC World News, Collaboration Culture pairs 14 creative and celebrated figures from the world of fashion, dance, music, food and art and invites them to collaborate on a new, innovative project.

In the second episode of the series, scheduled to air on July 7, British artist Bob and Roberta Smith – real name Patrick Brill – leaves his hometown of London to meet Paa Joe, a renowned coffin sculptor, in his native Accra in Ghana. Both artists will join forces to create a piece of art that fuses together their own cultures along with their shared love of raw materials, colour and alternative style.

Known by his two art pseudonyms, despite being one person, Bob and Roberta Smith is famed for his hand-painted signs on wooden panels. He borrows influences from folk, punk and alternative protest movements, merging art and politics to provide a humorous take on contemporary Britain and popular culture. His personal expression dominates his art, challenging orthodox and authority.

Paa Joe is a renowned Ghanaian coffin sculptor whose eccentric and colourful coffin designs have been exhibited all over the world. Taking inspiration from everyday objects, Paa Joe’s work is embedded in the Ghanaian tradition to honour the dead and is reminiscent of the extravagance of ancient Egyptian royal tombs. From aeroplanes to mobiles, sharks to beer bottles, each coffin has its own personal stamp to reflect and celebrate the character of the deceased.

The episode gives viewers unprecedented insight as they follow Bob and Roberta Smith and Paa Joe’s journey to find inspiration for their collaborative masterpiece. We’ll see how both individuals have used their own areas of expertise to implement their on-going love affair for timber, paint and scale that will culminate in a grand reveal at a special burial ceremony.

“I paint the first thing that comes into my head on bits of old floorboards and timber that I find in people’s front gardens,” said Bob and Roberta Smith. “The style of my work is all sorts of things really, but it’s quite ramshackle. I do knock things together quite quickly. I like the idea that most of it has been made by me, and painted by me.”

Speaking about the lion-shaped coffin that he made during the period of collaboration with Bob and Roberta Smith, Paa Joe explained: “This lion, it’s a very fantastic lion. It’s very beautiful. But you know, even if you’re beautiful, you end up in the grave.”

For more information please contact:

Sophie West, BBC Global News Press Office

t: +44 (0) 20 7557 0333 / e: sophie.west@bbc.co.uk

Shammi Anand, BBC Global News Press Office

t: +44 (0) 20 8433 3368 / e: shammi.anand@bbc.co.uk