Meyina El Anatsui’s exhibition at Goodman Gallery until 20th December
Do yourselves a favour and make sure that you visit the Goodman Gallery in Rosebank before El Anatsui’s exhibition comes down on 2oth December. El Anatsui, who is Ghanaian by birth but has lived in Nigeria since 1975, is one of Africa’s most influential contemporary artists. This is his first solo exhibition in South Africa. Entitled Meyina which means ‘I am Going’ in Ewe, it comprises 7 large scale sculptural installations which are made from crumpled pieces of metal sourced from local recycling stations and ‘sewn’ together with copper wire. Like a fellow artist, Walter Oltmann, who also works with weaving wire to create seemingly soft and malleable forms, there is a contradiction in El Anatsui’s works between the seeming flexibility and soft flowing feel of an apparently tapestry-like fabric, and the actual rigid hard substance of the metal pieces used to make the works. And of course discarded waste items are recrafted into art works of exquisite beauty.
In their description of the exhibition Goodman Gallery write: “Paraphrasing Ghanaian author Koffi Amyidoho, Anatsui states: ‘When I am in the studio it is as if the sky bends down to have a word with the earth.’ “
Anatsui is emeritus Professor of Sculpture at the Department of Fine and Applied Arts at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he taught for over 30 years. His work can be found in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris ; and the British Museum, London, amongst other public collections.