Thursday, June 12, 2008

Weird links and bottle tops

Ever experience a strange series of events that later all turn out to be connected?

A while ago I cut a fantastic photograph of a cloth like structure made out of bottle tops from a magazine and pasted it into my journal. Last week I flicked through a book called Anganza Afrika - African Art Now. I didn't look too much because it was clear I might buy it at some point in the future, but I noticed a series of works made from weapons, including a tree of life that really caught my eye, not least because I am researching Trees of Life for a City and Guilds project.

Today I went to the British Museum walked down a staircase and stopped in awe at this piece, made by a Ghanaian artist from metal bottle neck covers. (The photo above is a close up.)In the next room was this piece. Both reference kente cloth strips. I noted that the artist was El Anatsui.
Then, smack bang in the third room of the African gallery was this - the very tree from the book!
It turns out there is a Christian Aid project in Maputo which allows villagers to swap weapons for agriculturally related metal goods ( from hoes to tractors) and then the weapons are made into art.

On my return home I googled El Anatsui. His website has a few pictures on, all of which I love. But there wasn't much so I looked at the next search result. It was a reference to him exhibiting at a gallery I had not heard of in Bloomsbury - right near the British Museum, right where I was today and I missed it! Bah!

So I clicked further onto the website and - Lo! - the exhibition has just been extended until the 2nd August... and guess who will be back in London, in a hotel on the edge of Bloomsbury, with another day free between lectures at the end of July? Yeah! Oh, and the exhibit is the launch for the book.

I'm thinking that maybe I need to go to Amazon and get that book right now!

In case you share my delight in his work you can find another picture and an artist's statement about how he makes what he considers cloth here


Quilt Pixie said...

not particularily my style of art, but definately a worthwhile project to trade arms for agriculture.....

magsramsay said...

He also exhibited in the same gallery last year ( which was stunning) - it will be interesting to see his new work.
There was whole exhibition of sculpture from weapons in the garden outside the BM in 2005 which was thought provoking - I guess they moved some of the key pieces to the galleries.

June Calender said...

GREAT TREES! I really want to tell you that Leora Rankin, the S. African woman with the embroidery on my site, has a web site you can Google. She sells both completed embroidered pieces and kits, as well as a great thread that is dyed a different color every two inches -- a project of a woman's cooperative.