New Angles: daily inspiration

El Anatsui

Posted in art, crafts - art by menno1976 on September 17, 2009

image by Jack Shainman Gallery

When I showed a Ghanaian friend my paintings and drawings, she told me that they reminded her of Ghanaian tribal art. I’ve never visited Ghana before, so I was a bit curious if this was true. Some of my work does indeed look a bit tribal, unconsciously I must’ve been influenced by African art, since I’m no expert and I have no books on African art at home.

While doing some research on contemporary African art I was drawn to the work of Ghanaian-born, Nigerian-based El Anatsui. A lot of his sculptures consist of recycled materials such as bottle tops, old graters, labels, copper wires and so on. It’s amazing how he can turn this ” junk” into the most gorgeous pieces of art which are reminiscent of the West African textile production (in particular Kente, traditional woven cloths) and refer to consumerist excess and decay, as well as to the idea that beauty and innovation can be found in seemingly ugly and discarded things.

image by The Metropolitan Museum of Art

image by The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A behind-the-scenes view of the installation of Between Earth and Heaven, a monumental wall-mounted sculpture.

Traditional Ghanaian Kente (woven handspun cotton), Ewe culture. Mid-20th century.

Find out more about El Anatsui and his gorgeous pieces here.


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