El Anatsui Artworks

El Anatsui uses a diverse range of mediums—including clay, wood and bottle caps—to portray a range of themes stemming from political, social, environmental and historical concerns. His works present a unique formal language informed by his interest in reuse, postcolonial discourse, consumption, waste and the environment.

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Bottle Caps

Emerging from post-independence art movements of West Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, Anatsui gained prominence in 2002 when he began using his distinct bottle cap weaving technique to create large-scale assemblages. These works consist of thousands of pieces of aluminium bottle caps and other materials sewn together with copper wire.

This can be seen in the work Skylines? (2008), where the bottle caps are woven together to create folds that cascade across and down the gallery wall, creating the effect of a metallic cloth-like structure that shimmers in deceptive decadence.

In Skylines? and other wall hanging works, Anatsui reuses metals from alcohol recycling stations. The use of alcohol bottle caps references the industry that Europeans brought to Africa, and the work thus explores postcolonial themes relating to exchange. The use of the recycled material also alludes to Anatsui's interest in visualising waste and consumption, reflecting an environmentalist ethos.

Flexibility

In a report on the artist's exhibition at Sydney's Carriageworks (El Anatsui: Five Decades [7 January—6 March 2015]), Ocula contributor Rachel Fuller noted that of the utmost concern to Anatsui is that 'a work must be fluid and free, it must embody the change inherent in everyday life. As Anatsui says, "The form is not a given, but it is a proposition".' The artist therefore creates variable forms that allow flexibility in order to be shaped and altered to appear differently in each installation.

His works are inherently impermanent as they are taken down, folded then reassembled slightly differently at each exhibition. By making the works mutable, the artist breaks with the form of traditional sculpture. He also challenges convention by hanging his work on walls, from ceilings and laying them on the ground. An example is Gli (Wall) (2010), which hangs from the high ceiling of the gallery interior. The work appears thin and light due to its transparency, resembling a delicate metal curtain.

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Solemn Crowd at Dawn by El Anatsui contemporary artwork painting
El Anatsui Solemn Crowd at Dawn, 1989 Tropical hardwoods, tempera and house paint
65 x 140 cm
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Carmine Eclipse by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Carmine Eclipse, 2016 Intaglio print with collage and chine-collé
98.5 x 98.5 cm
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Cadmium-Vermillion Eclipse by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Cadmium-Vermillion Eclipse, 2016 Intaglio print with collage and chine-collé
98.5 x 98.5 cm
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Untitled (Black on Gold) by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Untitled (Black on Gold), 2019 Taku-hon rubbing on gold leaf coated Gasenshi paper
135 x 135 cm
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Gold Eclipse by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Gold Eclipse, 2016 Intaglio print with collage and chine-collé
98.5 x 98.5 cm
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From the Venovize Series by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui From the Venovize Series, 1985 Ceramic
26 x 26 x 26 cm
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From the Venovize Series by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui From the Venovize Series, 1985 Ceramic
14 x 53 x 9 cm
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Dakawo by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui Dakawo, 2023 Tropical hardwoods, paint and copper wire
250 x 383 cm
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Profile by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui Profile, 2023 Aluminium and copper wire
305 x 265 cm
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Royal Slumber by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui Royal Slumber, 2023 Aluminium and copper wire
358 x 475 cm
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Clouds gathering over the city by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui Clouds gathering over the city, 2023 Aluminium and copper wire
386 x 282 cm
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G6 by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui G6, 2023 Aluminium and copper wire
290 x 328 cm
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When a gate closes by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui When a gate closes, 2023 Aluminium and copper wire
270 x 350 cm
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Earth struggling to grow roots and leaves by El Anatsui contemporary artwork mixed media
El Anatsui Earth struggling to grow roots and leaves, 2023 Aluminium and copper wire
350 x 242 cm
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Untitled ( blue) by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui Untitled ( blue), 2023 Aluminum, copper wire, and nylon string
205 x 405 cm
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Goodman Gallery
Sovereignty by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui Sovereignty, 2021 Aluminium, copper wire, and nylon string
360 x 315 cm
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Pray All Night P by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Pray All Night P, 2022 Monoprint
Barakat Contemporary Request Price & Availability
Pray All Night F by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Pray All Night F, 2022 Monoprint
59.6 x 88.27 cm
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Pray All Night S by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Pray All Night S, 2022 Monoprint
59.6 x 88.27 cm
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Barakat Contemporary
Pray All Night U by El Anatsui contemporary artwork print
El Anatsui Pray All Night U, 2022 Monoprint
59.6 x 88.27 cm
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Barakat Contemporary
National Identity Card by El Anatsui contemporary artwork painting, sculpture
El Anatsui National Identity Card, 2021 Painted wood
177 x 225 cm
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Interventions by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui Interventions, 2022 Aluminium, copper wire and nylon string
400 x 400 cm
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Goodman Gallery
Routes to Discovery by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui Routes to Discovery, 2021 Painted wood
153 x 208 cm
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Goodman Gallery
National Identity Card by El Anatsui contemporary artwork sculpture
El Anatsui National Identity Card, 2021 Painted wood
177 x 225 cm
Sold
Goodman Gallery
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