This exhibition features six of Anatsui’s large-scale sculptures—five are wall mounted and one extends into the viewers’ space across the floor. The works are all constructed in Anatsui’s signature technique of joining the bands and caps of liquor bottles into broad expanses of flexible sculpture. Brightly colored and richly textured, these works of art engage a host of issues—from consumer culture to environmental concerns—related to contemporary life in a globalizing world.
The works also build on the artist’s engagement with Africa’s global history. European traders introduced bottled liquor to the continent, and rum figured prominently in the triangle trade that brought so many enslaved Africans to the Americas. While humble, even seemingly inconsequential, these bits of detritus carry with them evidence of a painful legacy hundreds of years in the making.
Anatsui (Ghanaian, b. 1944) long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation for his sculpture in Africa, but he catapulted to international fame after his work was featured in the Venice Biennale of 2007. Since that time, his work has been the subject of countless one-person and group exhibitions.
Please join us for the Inaugural Patricia and Edward Falkenberg Lecture featuring the artist El Anatsui on 3 April 2014.
This exhibition was organized by Florence Finch Abbott Director John Stomberg and Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of African Art and Architecture Amanda Gilvin. It was made possible through the generosity of the Susan B. Weatherbie Exhibition Fund.