Ataa Oko was born in 1919 in La (Labadi) near Accra. In his youth he worked in La as a fisherman. He had never enjoyed a school education, but was allowed to complete an apprenticeship in a carpentry workshop in Accra. After 1945, Ataa Oko became famous throughout the Greater Accra Region because, as one of the first carpenters, he created figurative coffins which were still rarely used in those years. In 1951 he opened his own studio for figurative coffins in his La.
When Regula Tschumi met the artist in 2002, he was since a long time retired. But on her request, he still could set up three figurative coffins with the support of his son Kofi, but then again on Regula Tschumi’s request he began to draw. When the artist died in 2012 at the age of 94, he left behind an extensive drawing work that provides a fascinating insight into his life and his spiritual world.