25 Jan 2012
A huge masterwork titled New World Map by Ghana's El Anatsui (born 1944) is estimated to fetch £500,000-800,000 at Bonhams next sale of Modern and Contemporary African Art, 'Africa Now' in London on 23rd May.
This magisterial work measuring 11ft by 16ft (350x500cm) is similar to work that the artist has shown at the Venice Biennale.
Giles Peppiatt, Director of Contemporary African Art at Bonhams, says: "We are delighted to offer this stunning work by the Ghanaian artist El Anatusui. It speaks of Africa in its use of traditional patterning but is very much of the moment – a massive hauntingly beautiful contemporary statement."
El Anatsui is widely recognized as one of the world's foremost contemporary artists. He was born in Ghana in 1944 but is now based in Nigeria, where he is Head of Sculpture in the Fine and Applied Arts Department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. His work draws on the broad spectrum of indigenous African cultures and is particularly concerned with the erosion of inherited traditions by external forces and the nature of their continued transmission. He often links his work to events, people and current and historical issues.
El Anatsui has used many different materials over the years, including wood, metal, clay and more recently repurposed materials. New World Map is a prime example of his recent work, made from flattened bottle caps woven together into a shimmering tapestry.
These hanging pieces are based on the traditional narrow-strip woven silk cloth made in Ghana, a source of national pride. Similar works by El Anatsui hang in some of the world's most prestigious institutions, including the Sainsbury African Galleries at the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Pompidou and the Smithsonian.
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Bonhams, founded in 1793, is one of the world's largest auctioneers of fine art and antiques. The present company was formed by the merger in November 2001 of Bonhams & Brooks and Phillips Son & Neale. In August 2002, the company acquired Butterfields, the principal firm of auctioneers on the West Coast of America. Today, Bonhams offers more sales than any of its rivals, through two major salerooms in London: New Bond Street and Knightsbridge; and a further three in the UK regions and Scotland. Sales are also held in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Carmel, New York and Connecticut in the USA; and Germany, France, Monaco, Hong Kong and Australia. Bonhams has a worldwide network of offices and regional representatives in 25 countries offering sales advice and appraisal services in 60 specialist areas. For a full listing of upcoming sales, plus details of Bonhams specialist departments go to www.bonhams.com