Head of Sale
£40,000 - £60,000
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Head of Sale
Acquired directly from the artist, 1993;
A private collection.
El Anatsui's wide body of work exemplifies an incorporation of traditional forms of Art creation across Africa with contemporary motifs. Aiming to redress African history as it was understood, as it had mainly been communicated by European interpretations following colonisation, El researched linguistics and writing systems of his African heritage to inform works such as the present lot. This was an effort to reclaim his heritage identity.
Created within the same year as his other Grandma's Cloth works, with the series spanning from the late 1980's to the early 1990's, El Anatsui uses wooden planks and incorporates uli and nsibidi symbols, etched into the wood. Indeed, the process of etching, incising and scorching was performed with modern tools such as blow torches and power saws, contrasting the everyday age-old material. Conceptually, the aggressive nature of moulding the wood is representative of the Western colonisation which fragmented Africa.
Inspired by the vivacious graphics, historical significance, and identity that traditional Ghanaian Kente cloth imbues, the artist would eventually go on to expand the medium of his works to scrap pieces of metal, mimicking the action of weaving resonating with the creative process of Kente Cloth. From process to the end result, El Anatsui's work is heavily weighted in symbolism.