El Anatsui (Ghanaian, born 1944) 'Kente on Lace'
Lot 71
El Anatsui
(Ghanaian, born 1944)
'Kente on Lace'
Sold for £22,500 (US$ 34,955) inc. premium

Lot Details
El Anatsui (Ghanaian, born 1944)
'Kente on Lace'
carved wood relief with acrylic
61 x 174.5cm (24 x 68 11/16in).
in sixteen pieces

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE
    Acquired directly from the artist by Doris Weller (1952-2013) on 18 September 1998
    Thence by descent to the current owner

    The artist Doris Weller was the founder of the Ama Dialog Foundation in Nigeria.

    This lot is offered with the original artist's receipt.

    The title of this wall-hanging refers to a native Ghanaian fabric made up of brightly-coloured strips. Traditionally kente cloth was worn only by Akan royalty and was reserved for special or sacred occasions. The colours of a cloth are of great significance and have symbolic meaning.

    In this piece, thin planks of wood take the place of cloth strips. The grooves scored into the surface are painted in blue, green and red, representing the concepts of harmony, spiritual renewal and sacrifice.

    El Anatsui has often criticised Western scholars for attempting to provide Africa with a written history. The colour symbolism of Kente on lace reminds the viewer that African people have a long documented their thoughts and feelings ideographically. The holes and burnt areas of wood acknowledge that this history is incomplete. However, rather than try to fill the gaps, we must accept that these 'holes' are part of the greater picture.

    BIBLIOGRAPHY
    J. Picton, El Anatsui: A Sculpted History of Africa. (London, 1998), p.27
    L. Binder, El Anatsui, When I Last Wrote to You about Africa, (New York, 2010), p.33
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