Blog #8

Wastepaper Bag, El Anatsui, 2003

El Anatsui was born in the Volta region of Ghana in 1944. He attended the College of Art at Kwame Nkrumah University in 1965 and finished in 1969. He had taught in Ghana but he then took a teaching job at the University of Nigeria-Nsukka in 1975. He holds the position still as head sculptor at University of Nigeria-Nsukka. He has a profound influence on the young artists in West Africa.

He emerged as an artist during the vibrant West African post-independence art movement of 1960s and 1970s. He has received international approval for his highly experimental sculptures.

Anatsue in this sculpture did not want to portray metal as how it is usually portrayed as stiff and rigid. He wanted to portray it as soft and pliable.

This is an eight-foot-tall sculpture. It is a very large wastepaper bag. He says that this shows the all to often-disposable nature of human life. That the disposable items are such as printing plates used for newspapers obituary pages. That announcements and images of the dead that remind them of the disease, crime, and persecution of their nation are being printed on these items that could be recycled but are just thrown away.

I think that this is a strong statement. I think he means that they are not “recycling” or not getting rid of the bad such as disease, crime and persecution. They are reminded of it all the time because they are not getting rid of the old. Such as if they “recycled” they would not be reminded of all the bad things. That if they were not always reminded of the old that maybe they could get past it and work on the future.

So he was saying that if they recycle and get rid of it that is reminding them of all the bad it would make it easier for them to move on instead of not disposing of it and it being there all the time to remind you of the crime and hurt.


2 Responses to “Blog #8”

  1. Rhi Says:

    I really appreciate that you talked about the sociopolitical importance if this piece, rather than focusing on its form. Modern art tends to have a political agenda, especially when it comes from a locale that has had so much recent turmoil. This is indeed a powerful piece, an not easy to ignore, especially because of its large scale.

  2. dionk20 Says:

    Nice work on this blog. I really liked your analysis of the symbolism involved in this piece. I can imagine this work only gets better the closer you move towards it, as you are able to read some of the printing plates. I am not a huge fan of modern art, but really like this sculpture.

    You met all the requirements and overall did a good job on this final blog.

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