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Artist Spotlight: El Anatsui

Post by Fab 5 Freddy

One of Africa’s most renowned contemporary artists is Ghanaian-born El Anatsui. His large hanging works, that the artist considers sculpture, shimmer like metallic curtains on a grand stage. You are drawn close to them for a better look at what they’re made of and you see they they are epic interconnected assemblages of found objects like flattened metal bottle caps, cassava graters or the flip top rings from soda and beer cans attached meticulously with copper wire. You realize how much work goes into making one of his impressive monumental wall sculptures. El Anatsui challenges the idea of sculpture as we know it and allows the particular spaces his work is shown in to influence how they are hung and displayed. He also works with clay and wood creating objects inspired by traditional Ghanaian beliefs.  New York Times art critic Roberta Smith wrote, “…the works evoke lace but also chain mail; quilts but also animal hides; garments but also mosaic. Not to mention the rich ceremonial cloths of numerous cultures. Their drapes and folds have a voluptuous sculptural presence, but also an undeniably glamorous bravado.”

 

His work regularly comes up for auction in the blue chip category in major auction houses, and is exhibited in galleries and major museums worldwide–including a retrospective organized several years ago by the Museum for African Art (the former name of The Africa Center prior to its expanded mission and vision) entitled, “When I Last Wrote to You About Africa.” It opened at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto and toured venues in the USA for the next few years.  You can read the full catalogue from that exhibition here. Video from the exhibition’s installation at the Blanton Museum of Art:

 

El Anatsui on language and symbols as it relates to his work:

 

El Anatsui supervising the installation of a large out door sculpture at New York City’s High Line:

 
 Additional photos of his work are below:

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The Africa Center
The Africa Center2 hours ago

The Moth is coming to Aaron Davis Hall! Join them on Monday, February 4th, for a magical evening of stories, shared live at the beautiful Marian Anderson Theater as five storytellers take the stage and share a true, personal story from their life: joy and...

2 hours ago
@TheMoth is coming to Aaron Davis Hall! Join them on Monday, February 4th, for a magical evening of stories, shared live at the beautiful Marian Anderson Theater as five storytellers take the stage and share a true, personal story from their life.

https://t.co/zDfWH5BFE8