El Anatsui, an interestingly innovative contemporary artist emerged from the vibrant post-independence art movements of 1960s and ’70s in West Africa. After a Bachelor’s degree in Sculpture (1969), and through a career of making art and mentoring younger generation of artists, he has gone on to attain extensive international prominence for his sculptural adventures. Over time, his exploration of the artistic language through materials and processes have come to be very poignant and telling.
During his forty-five-year career as sculptor and teacher, El Anatsui has addressed with his work, concerns of history and contemporary culture, employing wood, chainsaw, welding torches and other casual but precisely elected materials sourced from his locality. Developing a range of processes such as the intricate and meditative 'sewing, joining an patching’ processes of his later work, he has shaped found materials that range from cassava graters, driftwood, iron nails, key padlocks, obituary printing plates to aluminium bottle-tops, to create a wide variety of original sculptural forms.
El Anatsui's installations have roused a whirl of international attention with persons and institutions queuing to acquire the fascinating works. Created from many thousands of aluminium bottle-tops sewn together with copper wires, his recent magnificent sculptures continue to enthral audiences wherever they are exhibited.