New World Map by El Anatsui for Bonhams Africa Now auction on 23rd May

. January 25, 2012 . 0 Comments

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.


New World Map by El Anatsui estimated £500,000-800,000. Photo: Bonhams.

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.

Category: Fine Art

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