The many hands of El Anatsui
In a similar embrace of the benefits and possibilities born of collaboration and delegation, the internationally acclaimed Ghanian artist El Anatsui acknowledges the presence, indeed, the necessity, of many hands in his sculptural works. He compares his role to that of an architect who generates the idea and authors the design but requires the painstaking efforts of others to bring a concept into its towering, shimmering existence. At his studio in Nsukka, Nigeria, Anatsui oversees anywhere between twenty and forty young men who assemble the monumental pieces he is most recognized for, his wall sculptures made from discarded bottle tops. Several of these mesmerizing tapestries, as well as many other sculptures, installations, paintings, and drawings, are currently on display in the El Anatsui retrospective, When I Last Wrote to You about Africa, at UMMA through May 5.