One of Nigeria’s most influential artists, El Anatsui and his famed works of art showcase the magnificence of Africa’s thriving art culture. Using a variety of unconventional media for his sculptures, the artist and his impact upon the art world remain amongst the most highly regarded to stem from the continent. With his creative works serving as a social commentary on a variety of issues ranging from colonialism to the environment, El Anatsui’s pieces may continue to inspire Tunde Folawiyo and millions more with an appreciation for the diversity of Africa’s art.
Born in the town of Anyako during 1944, Anatsui was trained at an art institution in Ghana before beginning a teaching career in Nigeria during 1975. He would travel back and forth between the two countries frequently during his career. The artist long held a preference for media such as wood and clay, using these to sculpt objects tied to traditional Ghanaian ideals and other fascinating subjects. Whilst Anatsui found success in sculpture, he later transitioned to modern installation art. It was in this genre that he would later encounter tremendous success.
Anatsui’s works are world renowned, better known for their large scale and the thousands of crumpled and folded metal pieces bound together to form art. These intricate pieces, many of which are massive, require meticulous construction, demonstrating his magnificent artistic talents. In keeping true to his aesthetic, the artist encourages his pieces to take on a variety of forms upon installation in museums across the world. Several of his most recognised pieces are so large that they encompass entire walls in galleries across the world.
Some of El Anatsui’s most famous exhibitions are housed within numerous art institutions throughout the United States and beyond, including those in the popular Brooklyn Museum and several others in states like New York, Iowa, California, Florida and Ohio. NYC’s Metropolitan Museum and its Museum of Modern Arts are among the most notable to showcase the art of El Anatsui, demonstrating his world-wide popularity and immense impact forged upon contemporary art and African art as a whole. International exhibits have also shown his work, including Venice Biennale and Paris Triennial. Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others with an appreciation for African art may regard El Anatsui’s pieces as some of the most significant to hail from the region. His contributions to the world of art will continue to inspire new generations of art enthusiasts and African citizens alike.