El Anatsui

Anatsui was born in Ghana in 1944 and studied art at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Arts and Science, Kumasi. He moved to The University of Nigeria, Nsukka to lecture, and expanded on the existing ideas about cultural exploration, focusing on Uli, Nsibidi and Adinkra motifs.

He would from an early stage appropriate every day living objects, create new meanings for them that didn’t exactly diminish the old meaning of these objects but, in fact, relied on these old meaning to create a loop of emotional and spiritual connections between histories and cultures.

His early sculptures used the wooden trays of the market women of Ghana. He would work with clay as well and then go on to create burnt wood panels. More recently he has created large, amorphous sculptures made of bottle tops. It might seem like a wide range of media over decades, but on some level there is a striking similarity between all the forms – a fundamental link with everyday objects, a link with used objects transformed, yet retaining the spirit imbued by human interaction.