Rikki March 2014

“The El Anatsui Story: From Anyako to a Global Conquest”

The 2nd day of the El Anatsui at 70 celebration was a talk by Ghanaian artist and writer Rikki Wemega-Kwawu entitled “The El Anatsui Story: From Anyako to a Global Conquest”. This was a fascinating and inspiring insight into the journey ofAnatsui, from humble beginning in Anyako to Nsukka to the global art stage. He gave new insightful formal analysis of Anatsui’s work but also highlighted the way in which the West’s sole focus on him monumental bottle top hangings they are perpetuating a one dimensional reading of his entire artistic practice which includes, drawings, paintings, and of course his wood sculptures which actually form the major part of his artistic career. This was rectified somewhat in his critically acclaimed retrospective “When I last wrote to you from Africa” curated by Lisa Binder and initiated by the Museum for African Art, New York. Wemega-Kwaku also highlighted the possibility of staying on the continent and achieving Global recognition but we just have to work much, much, much harder than we are at the moment. He did not have that kind of role model but all emerging African artists have his examples to use. Let’s use it and let us even surpass it. If that happens then that will be lasting legacy that he has given us in addition to his works.

Rikki Wemega_Kwaku’s full text will be published on this website soon.

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Photos by Jude Anogwih.

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