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Looking back on five decades of El Anatsui

2016 will see Carriageworks hosting a half-century look back over the work of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui

His first major exhibition in Australia, El Anatsui: Five Decades, will showcase a history of the man’s work, from his earliest pieces to today. Presented as a part of the Sydney Festival, the festival will run from 7 January until 6 March 2016.

Carriageworks will present over than 30 works from the 1970s to the current day, including ceramics, drawings, sculptures and woodcarvings, alongside the intricate and expansive, large-scale installations for which Anatsui is best known.

Born in 1944 in Anyako, Ghana, Anatsui has spent much of his life working and living in Nsukka, Nigeria and has long been recognised as one of the world’s leading contemporary artists.

Lisa Havilah, Director of Carriageworks, said “El Anatsui: Five Decades is an ambitious project and reflects Carriageworks commitment to presenting the most ambitious contemporary art from around the world in Australia. This major exhibition continues our annual series presenting the major installations by the most exciting international visual artists working today.

“El Anatsui is one of the world’s great artists and it is an honour to be presenting these remarkable works in Carriageworks’ unique spaces. We hope the audiences of Sydney and beyond relish this very special experience,” continues Beatrice Gralton, Visual Arts Curator, Carriageworks.

Five Decades demonstrates Anatsui’s inspired approach to repurposed materials. Old wood, aluminium printing plates, tin boxes and liquor bottle tops become ingenious works of unique art. Many of Anatsui’s early ceramic works, prints and sculptures incorporate a contemporary appropriation of the West African adinkra symbols, reaffirm local nature of his work.

Five Decades examines the histories of colonial and post-colonial Africa alongside ideas of consumption, exchange and renewal.

El Anatsui: Five Decades will be presented at Carriageworks from 7 January until 6 March 2016.