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About

BIO:

El Anatsui was born in Anyanko, Ghana in 1944. Many of Anatsui’s sculptures are mutable in form, conceived to be so free and flexible that they can be shaped in any way and altered in appearance for each installation. Working with wood, clay, metal, and—most recently—the discarded metal caps of liquor bottles, Anatsui breaks with sculpture’s traditional adherence to forms of fixed shape while visually referencing the history of abstraction in African and European art. The colorful and densely patterned fields of the works assembled from discarded liquor-bottle caps also trace a broader story of colonial and postcolonial economic and cultural exchange in Africa, told in the history of cast-off materials. The sculptures in wood and ceramics introduce ideas about the function of objects (their destruction, transformation, and regeneration) in everyday life, and the role of language in deciphering visual symbols.
 
Lives and works in Nigeria
 
EDUCATION
 
1969
Postgraduate Diploma, Art Education, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi,
Ghana
 
1965–1969
BA (Art) College of Art, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
 
PUBLIC COLLECTIONS
 
African Studies Gallery, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria
Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio
Asele Institute, Nimo, Nigeria
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, WA
The British Museum, London, UK
Brooklyn Museum, New York
The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington DC
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Clarks International Art Collection, Somerset, UK
Denver Art Museum, Colorado
de Young Museum, San Francisco
Diamond Bank of Nigeria, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria
Eden Project, Cornwall, UK
Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles
French Cultural Centre, Lagos, Nigeria
Ghanaian Embassy, Copenhagen, Denmark
Guggenheim Abu Dhabi, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The Hammermill Collection, Hellebaek, Helsingør, Denmark
Hood Museum of Art, Hanover, New Hampshire
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN
International Peoples’ College, Helsingør, Denmark
Iwalewa-Haus, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth, Germany
Jordan National Gallery of Arts, Amman, Jordan
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA
Missoni, Milan, Italy
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY
Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland
Museum of Art, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Museum kunst palast, Duesseldorf, Germany
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
The National Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lagos, Nigeria
The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC
The Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, Missouri
The Newark Museum, NJ
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh
UNAIDS, Geneva
Osaka Foundation of Culture, Osaka, Japan
Royal Ontario Museum, Canada
Rubell Family Collection, Miami, FL
Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida
Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan
The World Bank Art Collection, Washington DC
 
 
AWARDS
 
2000
Founding Member and Fellow, Forum for African Arts
Member, International Selection Committee, Dakar Biennale, Dakar, Senegal
 
1999
The Public’s Prize, 7. Triennale der Kleinplastik, Stüttgart, Germany
 
1998
Bronze Prize, 9th Osaka Sculpture Triennale, Osaka, Japan
 
1995
Kansai Telecasting Corporation Prize, 3rd Osaka Sculpture Triennale, Osaka, Japan
 
1991
Fellow, Pan-African Circle of Artists (PACA)
 
1990
Honourable Mention (Joint), 44th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy
 
1969
Best Student of the Year, College of Art, University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana
 
1968
Honourable Mention, First Ghana National Art Competition, Accra, Ghan

Gallery

Video

Video




El Anatsui by Inception Gallery



El Anatsui by Inception Gallery



El Anatsui by Inception Gallery



El Anatsui by Inception Gallery

Installing El Anatsui from Wellesley College on Vimeo.

Exhibitions

Exhibitions:

 

2015 – 2016
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2016:
Us Is Them, The Pizzuti Collection, Columbus, OH
2015
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2015:
El Anatsui, Le Fenil Gallery, The Domain of Chaumont-sur-Loire, France (solo)
El Anatsui: Five Decades, The School, Kinderhook, NY (solo)
El Anatsui, Kunstbanken Hedmark Kunstsenter, Hamar, Norway (solo)
Re:Purposed, The John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art, State Art Museum of Florida, Florida State University, Sarasota, FL
Field, Road, Cloud: Art and Africa, Anna K. Meredith Gallery, Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, IA
Embracing Space and Color: Art On & Off the Wall, Vero Beach Museum of Art
Meet Me Halfway: Selections from the Anita Reiner Collection, Cristin Tierney Gallery
Piece Work, Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT
Summer Exhibition 2015, Royal Academy of Arts, London, UK
Atopolis: WIELS @ Mons 2015, Manège de Sury, Mons, Belgium
Standing and Hanging, Altman Siegel Gallery
Necessary Force: Art in the Police State, University of New Mexico Art Museum
The Contemporary 2: Who Interprets the World? 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan
Surface Tension, Flag Art Foundation, New York
2012 – 2015
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2012-2015:
Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui, Akron Art Museum, Akron, Ohio; Traveling to: Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa, Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA (solo)
2014
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2014:
El Anatsui: Trains of Thought, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
El Anatsui, Mnuchin Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
El Anatsui at 70, Centre for Contemporary Art, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa (solo)
El Anatsui: New Worlds, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts, USA (solo)
2012 – 2014
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2012-2014:
Museum, New York; Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Bass Museum of Art, Miami, USA (solo)
Denver Art Museum, Colorado; University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA (solo)
2013
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2013:
TSIATSIA – Searching for Connection, Royal Academy of Arts, London (solo)
2012 – 2013
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2012-2013:
Broken Bridge II, the High Line, New York, USA (solo)
2012
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2012:
Pot of Wisdom, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
Stitch in Time, Axel Vervoordt Gallery, Antwerp, Belgium (solo)
2010 – 2012
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2010-2012:
El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote To You About Africa, organised by the Museum for African Art, New York, USA
Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Canada; Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley, Massachusetts, USA (solo)
Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas, Austin; North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA
2011
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2011:
El Anatsui, Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, USA (solo)
2010 – 2011
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2010-2011:
A Fateful Journey, National Museum of Ethnology, Osaka; The Museum of Modern Art, Hayama;
2010
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2010:
Gli, Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, Texas, USA (solo)
Gli, Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, Texas, USA (solo)
2009
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2009:
El Anatsui, Belger Arts Center, Kansas City, Missouri, USA (solo)
Process and Project, BRIC Rotunda Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, USA (solo)
2008
El Anatsui Selected Exhibitions in 2008:
Earth Growing Roots, San Diego State University Art Gallery, San Diego, USA (solo)
Zebra Crossing, Jack Shainman Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2003 – 2008
El Anatsui: Gawu, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, Wales, UK (solo)
2003 – 2008
Model Arts & Niland Gallery, Sligo, Ireland (solo)
2003 – 2008
October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2003 – 2008
Djanogly Art Gallery, University of Nottingham, UK (solo)
2003 – 2008
Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida, USA (solo)
2003 – 2008
Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, USA (solo)
2003 – 2008
Fowler Museum, University of California, Los Angeles, USA (solo)
2003 – 2008
University of Arizona Museum of Art, Tucson, USA (solo)
2003 – 2008
; The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., USA (solo)
2006
Asi, David Krut Projects, New York, USA, in collaboration with October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2006
Nyekor, Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan, Italy, in collaboration with October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2004 – 2006
Afrika Remix, Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf, Germany and touring to the Hayward Gallery, London, UK; Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris and Mori Art Museum, Tokyo, Japan.
2005
De Young Museum, San Francisco, USA
2005
Danudo: Recent Sculptures of El Anatsui (solo)
2005
Skoto Gallery (in collaboration with Contemporary African Art Gallery, New York) (solo)
2005
El Anatsui: Gawu, Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville, Florida, USA (solo)
2005
El Anatsui: Gawu, October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2005
Danudo: Recent Sculptures of El Anatsui, Skoto Gallery in collaboration with Contemporary African Art Gallery, New York, USA (solo)
2003
El Anatsui: Gawu, Oriel Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, Wales, UK. An Oriel Mostyn Gallery exhibition touring to Model Arts & Niland Gallery, Sligo, Republic of Ireland, Gallery Oldham, Oldham, England, UK, October Gallery, London, UK, Djanogly Gallery, University of Nottingham, England, UK and the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art, Florida, USA. (solo)
2003
Africa Informs, October Gallery, London, UK.
2003
Biennale de Ceramica dell’ Arte Contemporanea, Villa Groppallo, Vado Ligure, Italy.
2002
One: The Independent, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, Liverpool, UK.
2002
El Anatsui: New Works, October Gallery, London, UK. (solo)
2002
New Works, October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2002
New Works, October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
2001
Encounters with the Contemporary, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC, USA.
2001
The Happy Face of Globalisation, The 1st Albissola Ceramics Biennale, Museo Civico d’ArteContemporanea and Museo della Ceramica Manlio Trucco, Albissola, Italy, touring to Musée Ariana, Geneva, Switzerland.
2001
Africas: The Artist and the City, Centro de Cultura Contemporania Barcelona (CCCB), Barcelona, Spain.
2000
El Tiempo de Africa (Africa’s Time), Centro Atlántico Arte Moderno, La Palma, Canary Islands, Spain.
1999
New Colours From Old Worlds: Contemporary Art from West Africa, October Gallery, London, UK.
1999
The Independent, Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, Liverpool, UK.
1998
7. Triennale der Kleineplastik, Stüttgart, Germany.
1998
Thoughts and Processes– El Anatsui & Ndubisi Onah, The Italian Cultural Institute, Lagos, Nigeria.
1998
A Sculpted History of Africa, October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
1997
Hakpa, French Cultural Centre, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa (solo)
1997
Hakpa, French Cultural Centre, Lagos, Nigeria. (solo)
1997
The Poetics of Line– Seven Artists of the Nsukka Group, The National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC, USA
1996
Container ’96– Art Across Oceans, Langelinie, Copenhagen, Denmark.
1996
Group Exhibition, Avant-Garde Gallery, Kaduna, Nigeria.
1996
El Anatsui & Tesfaye Tessema, The Contemporary African Gallery, New York, USA.
1996
El Anatsui & Sol Le Witt, Skoto Gallewry, New York, USA
1995
El Anatsui, October Gallery, London, UK. (solo)
1995
AKA ’95, Bona Gallery, Enugu and Didi Museum, Lagos, Nigeria.
1995
Art In The Shadow, The Nigerian Pavillion at Africus– 1st Johannesburg Biennale, Johannesburg, South Africa.
1995
El Anatsui: Sculptures and Reliefs, October Gallery, London, UK (solo)
1994
5th Havana Biennale, Havana, Cuba.
1993
New Currents ’93– Avant-Garde Nigerian Art, Didi Museum, Lagos, Nigeria.
1992
Begegnung mit den Anderen, University of Kassel, Kassel, Germany.
1991
AKA ’91, Bona Gallery, Enugu and Goethe Institut, Lagos, Nigeria.
1991
South of the World, Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea, Marsala, Italy.
1991
Old and New: An Exhibition of Sculpture in Assorted Wood, The National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria. (solo)
1991
Old and New: An Exhibition of Sculpture in Assorted Wood, National Museum, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa (solo)
1990
Five Contemporary African Artists, 44th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy.
1989
Zeitgenössische Nigerianische Kunst, Bonn, Bocholt and Mönchengladbach, Germany.
1988
AKA ’88, Nigerian Union of Journalists’ Press Centre, Enugu; Institute of African Studies, Nsukka and the National Gallery of Crafts and Design, Lagos, Nigeria.
1988
Walls and Gates– El Anatsui & Liz Willis, Avant-Garde Gallery, Kaduna, Nigeria.
1987
Venovize: Ceramic Sculptures, Faculty of Art and Design Gallery, Cornwall College, Redruth, UK. (solo)
1987
Pieces of Wood: An Exhibition of Mural Sculpture, The Franco-German Auditorium, Lagos, Nigeria. (solo)
1987
Original Prints from the 3rd Nsukka Workshop, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and Goethe Institut, Lagos, Nigeria
1987
Venovize: Ceramic Sculpture by El Anatsui, Faculty of Art and Design Gallery, Cornwall College, Redruth, UK (solo)
1987
Pieces of Wood: An Exhibition of Mural Sculpture, The Franco-German Auditorium, Lagos, Nigeria, Africa (solo)
1986
Nigerian-German Prints, University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Franco-German Auditorium, Lagos, Nigeria
1983
Four Contemporary African Artists, Mintec Gallery, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
1982
Okike 10th Anniversary Exhibition, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.
1982
Sculptures, Photographs, Drawings, Goethe Institute, Lagos, Nigeria. (solo)
1981
Drawing on the World, Billingham Art Gallery, Billingham; Middlesborough Art
1980
Wood Carvings, Cummington Community of Arts, Cummington, Massachusetts, USA. (solo)
1979
Broken Pots: Sculpture by El Anatsui, British Council, Enugu and the Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria. (solo)
1979
Christian Arts in Nigeria, Holy Trinity Cathedral Hall, Onitsha, Nigeria.
1976
Wooden Wall Plaques, Asele Art Gallery, Nsukka, Nigeria. (solo)
1975
Fabric Wall Hangings, Burnt Wooden Wall Plaques, The Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria.
1974
Tekarts Expo 5, Accra Arts Centre, Accra, Ghana.

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