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El Anatsui Art

Ghanian, b. 1944

Ghanaian artist and sculptor El Anatsui uses humble found materials — mostly famously, bottle caps — to make monumental artworks. Currently living and working in Nigeria, Anatsui is known for defying categorization, with sculptures that have been described variously as resembling quilts, animal hides, chainmail, lace and mosaics. He also creates smaller-scale abstract prints with a similar look and energy.

Anatsui was born in 1944 and earned his bachelor’s degree from Ghana’s Kumasi College of Arts, Science and Technology in 1968. He followed it up with a postgraduate diploma in art education and took his first teaching post at the University of Education in Ghana in 1969. In the late 1970s, Anatsui began creating his own art, mainly in terra-cotta, inspired by traditional African forms.

In 1982, Anatsui became a lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, where he continued to teach until 2011. Over the 1980s, he branched out and experimented with materials like wood, giving him greater freedom of scale, pattern and color. Over time, he began to use smaller pieces of metal stitched-together copper wire to build grandiose sculptures, which became his signature look and technique. In addition to bottle caps, Anatsui is known for using printing plates, iron nails, railroad ties and tin cans.

Whatever material he chooses for any given piece, Anatsui ensures that it has a connection to Africa, often sourcing from local recycling stations. His work is an exploration of the environment, waste, colonialism, local traditions, consumption and the connections between all of these facets. In the process, he transforms discarded items into beautiful art installations.

In 2008, Anatsui was recognized for his contributions to art with a Lifetime Achievement award at the Venice Biennale. His work has been exhibited all over the world, including at the Brooklyn Museum in New York City, the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the National Museum of Ethnology in Osaka and Rice Gallery in Houston. In 2022, Damiani Publishers released a 360-page book titled El Anatsui: The Reinvention of Sculpture, which chronicles his life and work.

On 1stDibs, find El Anatsui prints and other art.

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Artist: El Anatsui
Untitled (Black Edge with Pearl)
By El Anatsui
Located in Santa Fe, NM
Untitled (Black Edge with Pearl) is a 2013 serigraph. Untitled (Black Edge with Pearl) is from an edition of 5 plus artist and printers proofs. Untitled (Black Edge with Pearl) is ...
Category

2010s Abstract El Anatsui Art

Materials

Screen

Untitled (with Green)
By El Anatsui
Located in Santa Fe, NM
Untitled (with Green) is a 2015 stenciling and hand-painted enamel on aluminum sheet by El Anatsui. Untitled (with Green) is signed by El Anatsui.
Category

2010s Abstract El Anatsui Art

Materials

Monotype

Paper and Silver by El Anatsui hand-sculpted aluminium sculpture African Art
By El Anatsui
Located in Zug, CH
El Anatsui uses typically discarded resources such as liquor bottle caps, cassava graters and newspaper printing plates, to create both floor-based sculptures and shimmering wall pie...
Category

2010s Contemporary El Anatsui Art

Materials

Metal, Copper, Wire

Striped Flags
By El Anatsui
Located in New York, NY
This work is offered by CLAMP in New York City.
Category

2010s Abstract El Anatsui Art

Materials

Metal

Variation I (B)
By El Anatsui
Located in Saint Louis, MO
El Anatsui Variation I (B), 2014 Pigment print with hand collage and copper wire 23 x 30.2 inches (58.4 x 76.8 cm) Edition of 16
Category

2010s Abstract El Anatsui Art

Materials

Wire

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Previously Available Items
Checked Key by El Anatsui, Limited Edition, Wall Sculpture, Metal, Contemporary
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Checked Key by El Anatsui, Limited Edition, Wall Sculpture, Metal, Contemporary
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Variation I_C is a 2015 archival pigment print by El Anatsui. Variation I_C is from an edition of 30 plus artist and printers proofs. Variation I_C is signed by El Anatsui.
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Black and Silver
By El Anatsui
Located in Santa Fe, NM
Black and Silver is a 2018 archival pigment print with hand collage elements by El Anatsui. Black and Silver is from an edition of 30 plus artist and printers proofs. Black and Silve...
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Black and Silver
H 22.25 in W 28.25 in D 1 in
Blue Variation
By El Anatsui
Located in Santa Fe, NM
Blue Variation is a 2015 archival pigment print with hand collage and copper wire by El Anatsui. Blue Variation is from an edition of 10 plus artist proofs. Blue Variation is signed ...
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Blue Variation
H 32 in W 25 in D 3.75 in
El Anatsui, Paper and Gold 2017, pigment inkjet print with hand-cut edges
By El Anatsui
Located in Santa Fe, NM
El Anatsui Paper and Gold 2017 pigment inkjet print with hand-cut edges, printed and hand-sculpted aluminum collage and copper wire 20 x 20 in
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Mixed Media

El Anatsui art for sale on 1stDibs.

Find a wide variety of authentic El Anatsui art available for sale on 1stDibs. You can also browse by medium to find art by El Anatsui in metal, wire, acrylic polymer and more. Much of the original work by this artist or collective was created during the 21st century and contemporary and is mostly associated with the contemporary style. Not every interior allows for large El Anatsui art, so small editions measuring 24 inches across are available. Customers who are interested in this artist might also find the work of Brad Brown, Jan Voss, and Amy Ellingson. El Anatsui art prices can differ depending upon medium, time period and other attributes. On 1stDibs, the price for these items starts at $41,300 and tops out at $206,500, while the average work can sell for $187,095.

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