Artist : El Anatsui

I wish I could remember how I came across El Anatsui's work last week to thank whoever shared it in blogland. I've been chomping at the bit to share his work with you this week.
Gli (Wall), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
El Anatsui, from Ghana, now resides in Nigeria. The story behind these 'cloths' is incredible. Ten years ago, he discovered a bag full of  thousands of aluminum screw-tops from bottles of whiskey, rum and gin thrown away by a local distillery.

Gli (Wall) (detail), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
The bag sat in his studio for a few months while he continued his work as a wood sculptor until one day he started experimenting with the tops, bending and twisting them. They slowly evolved into a giant 'fabric' that resembled kente cloth, a fabric from Ghana, his native country.

Gli (Wall), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
The material used is loaded with meaning from mass consumerism, re-use and questions why there are so many of these used screw-tops in the first place.

Gli (Wall), 2010
Photo: Nash Baker © nashbaker.com
To create something so beautiful and powerful out of something so mundane and ordinary is no small feat. Here he speaks in his own words about the pieces and you have the chance to see the work as it moves, amazing.

El Anatsui certainly has a gift. His work is in a traveling inagural exhibition with the Museum of African Art in New York City. Until the museum opens in 2012, this exhibit is on tour throughout the US. It recently opened at the University of Texas at Austin and will travel to North Carolina, Denver and Michigan before settling at the MAA. Read more info about the exhibition here.


Alexis said...

I was so fortunate to see this show at the Davis Gallery at Wellesley College a couple of months ago. It was one of the most inspiring shows I have seen in a long time.

Dan R said...

Just saw an El Anatsui piece at the Met on Sunday. Fantastic work!

iNd!@nA said...

there's a fabulous piece of his in the collection of the de Young Museum too

Lari Washburn said...

It's great work! I also saw the show at the Davis. Sophie and I went together. That big curtain is amazing!

Kitty Kilian said...

Yep, I love the curtain too... museum pieces from scrap, well done by him.

Susan said...

First time I'm seeing this beautiful stuff.
Thank you.

Sophie Truong said...

aaaahhh! i'm a long time and forever fan.. great pics, thanks!

claire said...

I love his work, I saw an installation at the Venice Biennale a few years ago, one of the best things there.

Morna said...

I am a fan, too -- saw Between the Earth and Sky at MMA. It is gorgeous beyond gorgeous. Thanks for the reminder! :-)


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