Art & Life
This book on the celebrated Ghanaian artist El Anatsui explores the artist’s life and the trajectory of his remarkable career.
An African artist who has garnered worldwide recognition while based permanently in Nigeria, El Anatsui is best known for shimmering tapestries made from liquor bottle tops, which are part of the permanent collections of many of the world’s great museums. Author Susan M. Vogel, who worked closely with Anatsui while directing a documentary film about the artist, offers a uniquely personal perspective on Anatsui and provides the first penetrating study of his artworks. Accompanied by nearly 150 images, this book traces his lifelong exploration of media leading up to the bottle top art form that has captured the interest of the global art world. The book explores the artist’s themes of loss, chaos, and decay, his Nigerian University intellectual community, and his creative studio practice. Vogel traces the intertwined threads of Anatsui’s ideas, life, and art, from his youthful searching and desire to express Africa’s history to today’s work that can be immense and ethereal.
"[Susan] Vogel’s book offers a rare look into the life and career of this singular artist, from his birth in a small town of the Gold Coast, now Ghana (the youngest of some 32 siblings), through his unlikely embrace of art as a vocation, to the intellectual community surrounding him in at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he created and taught art for 37 years." Vogue
“[T]his publication serves as the most comprehensive archive of Anatsui’s art to date.”—Choice
“A great read on creative reuse of materials and contemporary African art in an international context.” —Public Art Review
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SUSAN MULLIN VOGEL, PhD is an authority on African art. She has served as Professor of Art History at Columbia University, the Henry J. Heinz II Director of the Yale University Art Gallery, Founding Director of the Museum for African Art, and Curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She received the Leadership award for lifetime achievement from the Arts Council of the African Studies Association. She has five documentary films on African art in distribution.