Ghanaian, born 1944
El Anatsui (Ghanaian, born 1944)
Aluminum and copper wire
82 x 124 inches
Purchase with funds from the Fred and Rita Richman Special Initiatives Endowment Fund for African Art and Joan N. Whitcomb
One of Africa’s most compelling contemporary artists, El Anatsui produces works that are aesthetically and conceptually resonant with ancient African forms. In 1999 the Nigerian-based artist began a series of works he termed “metal cloth” sculptures. He joins bits of aluminum from the necks and tops of discarded local liquor bottles to form a glittering textile that recalls the 1,000-year-old tradition of strip-woven cloth made by men in West Africa. Anatsui describes how he likes “to work with objects that have had a lot of human use because a certain charge is imbued, or loaded into the object.” Though he has participated in residencies worldwide and his art has been exhibited in Brazil, Denmark, France, Germany, Ghana, Italy, Japan, Nigeria, Spain, the United States, Wales, and beyond, Anatsui has chosen to stay in Africa, working in a large studio with many workshop assistants.