On 27th of June, Sotheby’s, the prestigious auction house, made a post on Twitter announcing a successful auction of one of Ghanaian artist, El Anatsui’s textile-like wall tapestry sculptures. The work titled Take My Hand (2005), is a large piece made of copper wire woven together in a way that resembles a tapestry or textile. The piece is abstract, but you can see hints of figures and hands within the weave. It’s a very complex and visually striking piece that makes you want to look at it again and again to discover new details.
El Anatsui is a Ghanaian artist known for his large-scale sculptures made of everyday objects like aluminum cans, bottle caps, and copper wire that are found in everyday environment. His work explores themes of history, memory, colonialism, and consumer culture. He often uses materials that reference the trans-Atlantic slave trade and Ghana’s colonial past.
His work explores serious themes such as exploitation and consumerism, while also drawing on the traditions of European and African abstraction through a reimagined sense of minimalism. He does not prescribe how his work should be displayed, saying that “art is a mirror of life. Life isn’t something we can trim and fix. It’s always changing.”
El Anatsui’s was born in 1944 in the Volta region of Ghana and studied at the College of Art in the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi. He started teaching at the University of Nigeria in 1975, and became the head of sculpture at UNN. His works are in the collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the British Museum in London, and many others. In 2015, he received the Golden Lion award for Lifetime Achievement from the Venice Biennale. He currently lives and works in Nigeria.