Over the past forty years El Anatsui has created a vast body of work that has expanded the language of contemporary sculpture not only across Africa but also internationally. Meyina presents a portrait of the artist by bringing together disparate fragments that form a whole. Through archival material, the exhibition attempts on the one hand to present new insights into the making of his works as well as the development of his career. On the other, it shows the magnificent sculptural installations for which he is so well known.
Meyina presents an array of disparate materials from Anatsui’s studio, his study and his library including sketchbooks, drawings, letters, exhibition planning and instruction documents, books he reads, books he features in, as well as brochures and exhibition publications to which he has contributed, especially those of Nigerian artists. Over the past two decades he has worked with reclaimed bottletops transforming these discarded material into sumptuous, scintillating sculptural installations that engage with and comment on African history, post-colonial conditions, as well as the daily realities and experiences on the continent. In presenting Meyina, the concept of a limitless horizon, an immersive space where possibilities become real, resonate. Paraphrasing Ghanaian author Koffi Amyidoho, Anatsui states that, ‘when I am in the studio it is as if the sky bends down to have a word with the earth.’
El Anatsui was born on 4 February 1944 in Ghana. Since 1975 he has lived and worked as an artist and lecturer at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Anatsui has taken part in over 100 solo and groups exhibition internationally. He received the Prince Claus Award in 2009.
*Meyina in Ewe translates to English as ‘I am going’