Exhibitions: Gravity and Grace: Monumental Works by El Anatsui

IN CONVERSATION

Our visitors respond to this 30-second video.

  • I thought of other labor intensive handmade
    Tasks in traditional cultures,and,I wondered
    Where are photos and references to the labor
    Forces hi connected all these small pieces with the bits of wire? How many laborers were there? What are their stories?

    — Chashi

    Kevin Stayton Chief Curator replied

    Thank you for your comment and for visiting the exhibition. El Anatsui employs around 30 assistants who work with him in his studio in Nsukka, Nigeria to create these large-scale metal works. The assistants, some of whom are featured in the videos and images in the exhibition, are typically young men and women who have finished secondary school and are in the midst of completing examinations to enter university. (As a professor himself, El Anatsui has stressed the importance of seeing to it that his assistants move on to careers of their own.) This process, of directing a studio with assistants who aid in the production of artworks, is part of a long art-historical tradition; we can find examples in Western art history stretching from the Renaissance to major contemporary artists today.

  • Connections to textiles, drapery, and forms from the material work.

    — Ana

  • We are all living in the same world and yet we see entirely different things. Let us work backwards from our varied interpretations and remember what we share.

    — Brennan

  • I had the pleasure of walking through these galleries and a chance meeting with a Ghanaian woman who was thrilled to discover her countryman's work. Art coming alive and connecting across continents. El's work is mighty and tender at the same time.

    — Zigi

  • Nothing from the ceiling?...

    — Orlando