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‘El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa’ Exhibit at Denver Art Museum

El Anatsui, Sacred Moon, 2007. Aluminum and copper wire.

DENVER, CO.- El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa traces the prolific career of El Anatsui—one of contemporary art’s leading figures—from his early woodwork in Ghana to today’s metal wall sculptures created in his studio in Nigeria, offering an unprecedented opportunity for visitors to follow the artist’s creative development and process throughout 40 years.

The exhibition, more than 60 works, includes eight spectacular metal wall sculptures made from thousands of bottle caps as well as numerous works from the artist’s own collection.
This is Anatsui’s most comprehensive exhibition to date. Organized by the Museum for African Art (MfAA), New York, the exhibition is on view in the level four galleries in the Hamilton Building September 9 through December 30, 2012.
“This retrospective delves into the work of one of today’s most extraordinary artists and offers a full view of his poignant and luminous works,” said Christoph Heinrich, Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the Denver Art Museum. “We’re focusing on his individual creativity and giving visitors an opportunity to see how he evolved throughout his career.”
When I Last Wrote to You about Africa brings together the full range of the artist’s work, from early wood trays, to ceramics and wooden sculptures, to the luminous metal wall sculptures which have brought him international acclaim. It explores Anatsui’s unique practice of transforming simple materials—often discarded or overlooked pieces such as driftwood, milk tins and bottle tops—into striking works of art that tell personal and universal stories.
“El Anatsui is a master of material,” said Nancy Blomberg, curator of native arts at the DAM. “This is the first time viewers will get the chance to experience the breadth of his life’s work and discover the story it tells. This exhibition has a great connection to our own African art collection.”
In 2008, the DAM’s native arts department commissioned “Rain Has No Father?”, a 13 ft., 2 in. tall by 19 ft., 9 in. wide tapestry, which Anatsui created out of found liquor bottle tops and copper wire. The artwork debuted as part of Embrace!, a site-specific exhibition celebrating the unique architecture of the Daniel Libeskind-designed Hamilton Building in 2010. Today it hangs in the African art galleries, adjacent to the retrospective display.
Visitors can make direct connections between the stunning metal wall sculpture and the comprehensive collection of Anatsui’s work hanging a few feet away. The exhibition is accompanied by the richly illustrated catalogue, El Anatsui: When I Last Wrote to You about Africa, with contributions by Kwame Anthony Appiah…More Information: Art Daily
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