S. Train , 2017

by El Anatsui

aluminium,bottle tops,roofing sheets and copper wire
312 x 410 x mm


Being a child of the hopeful 1960's, El Anatsui (°1944, Ghana) grew up in a period typified by the profound search for social and personal identity. This search has become a central theme through his art. He investigates the erosion of tradition as well as its survival and transmission into the future. Anatsui uses the word sankofa when he speaks of adinkra, a 17th century graphical system that is used to form patterns on African textile, and which is a great inspiration to the artist. Each symbol has a particular meaning. They often refer to abstract concepts of faith or courage or are a reference to proverbs and aphorisms. In earlier times, these symbols were stamped on cotton cloth and distributed in the form of textiles. These pieces of cloth were mainly worn during funeral ceremonies, but now, with the symbols also applied to pottery, walls of houses, backs of chairs, T-shirts and so forth, they have become a common element of everyday life.