Ghanaian artist El Anatsui is one of Africa’s most famous artists — just one of his famous bottle-top works fetches millions of dollars on the international market — and yet, he has never had an exhibition in South Africa.
But that’s about to change.
Meyina, Anatsui’s first solo exhibition in the country, will open at the Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg later this month. Visitors can expect to see seven large sculptural installations alongside some personal artefacts from Anatsui’s studio in Nigeria.
Anatsui has received global acclaim for his work, which transforms waste products mainly taken from the alcohol industry (bottle tops, glass and metallic papers) into glimmering artworks, which take the form of draped metallic textiles.
Speaking last year, Anatsui said his first exposure with South Africa was through music, as he listened to South African jazz artists on the radio while he was growing up in Ghana.
“I got to know South Africa long ago as a kid through music,” he said. “Radio Ghana used to have a programme called ‘Way Down South’ that played South African music for 30 minutes every Saturday, which I was addicted to. So I grew up knowing names like Dorothy Masuka, Kippie Moeketsi, Little Lemmy and Big Joe, Mahotella Queens, Jazz Epistles, Miriam Makeba and, of course, Hugh Masekela and Abdullah Ibrahim, whose careers I follow closely.” Read more