El Anatsui, from Ghana**, has been featured on Art21’s series. As a fellow African working with found materials, our students have found his work incredibly relevant to talk about. His work with play in his process, his discussion on post-colonialism, and his use of the everyday have inspired some amazing discussion at Dramatic Need.
Working with wood, clay, metal, and the discarded metal caps of liquor bottles, El Anatsui breaks with sculpture’s traditional adherence to forms of fixed shape while visually referencing the history of abstraction in African and European art. Anatsui’s works trace a broader story of colonial and postcolonial economic and cultural exchange, told in the history of cast-off materials, while exploring ideas about the everyday function of objects and the role of language in deciphering visual symbols.
**UPDATE** Our apologies, El Anatsui is from Ghana originally [we previously said Nigeria] although he has practiced most of his artistic career in Nigeria, where he also taught at the University of Nigeria.