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Ataa Oko

Born in 1919, La, Ghana
Died in 2012, Accra, Ghana



Ataa Oko was born in La, a town near Accra, Ghana. He works as a fisherman, then as an employee in cocoa plantations. Apprentice carpenter since 1936, he made his first figurative coffins around 1945 and open his own workshop in his hometown. Growing old, he makes more rarely coffins, only on occasional command.

Ataa Oko began his graphic work at of eighty-three years old, after meeting in 2002 with the ethnologist Regula Tschumi. She was then  conducting research on  funerary sculptures. She asked him to draw from memory its personalized figurative coffins he built while he was carpenter: one in the shape of a fish for a fisherman, another representing a tomato for a farmer ... Over time, the author is freed from his memories to make room for an abundance of brightly colored new topics: fantastic animals, characters and imaginary beings, sometimes monstrous. In constant contact with the beyond, Ataa Oko is visited by spirits that he represents on paper. His drawings are also fed by invigorating ramblings, but also from everyday images, conducive to stimulating creativity.
Ataa Oko worked with Regula Tschumi until his death in December of 2012.

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