Arts + Culture

Our Favorite New Pieces from Africa’s “Most Significant Living Artist”—El Anatsui

Check out these photos of El Anatsui's new exhibition at London's October Gallery.

LONDON--"Benchmarks," the title of El Anatsui’s exhibition at London’s October Gallery, takes on multiple meanings relating to the both the artist and his work.


At the 56th Venice Biennale, where Anatsui was awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, the show’s curator Okwui Enwezor, described him as Africa’s most significant living artist praising “the originality of Anatsui’s artistic vision, his long-term commitment to formal innovation, and his assertion through his work of the place of Africa’s artistic and cultural traditions in international contemporary art."

Anatsui’s famed metal wall sculptures are made from bottle-tops that are pierced and crushed, by a team of assistants, on work benches. These benches are what Anatsui, in conjunction with Factum Arte, the Madrid-based team of conservators, have developed into the prints that constitute much of Benchmarks.

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Mike Ward, director of the intaglio studio at Factum Arte, explained that “after 3D scanning these wooden pieces and using the textural information to make routed aluminium intaglio plates they became versatile source material with which to try anything and everything”.

One such successful try is Eclipse Suite, a collection of 13 pieces named after the 13 cycles of the moon.

A large number of prints were laid on the floor for Anatsui to arrange in a format of his choosing “El chose to concentrate on the recto and verso images of the near circular distressed wooden tray which he overlapped and allowed to enter and exit from the edges. This was the beginning of the idea of eclipses”.

Ends May 13th

Sabo Kpade is an Associate Writer with Spread The Word. His short story Chibok was shortlisted for the London Short Story Prize 2015. His first play, Have Mercy on Liverpool Street was longlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award. He lives in London. You can reach him at sabo.kpade@gmail.com

Interview

Kofi Jamar Switches Lanes In 'Appetite for Destruction'

The Ghanaian rapper and "Ekorso" hitmaker presents a different sound in his latest EP.

The drill scene in Ghana has been making waves across the continent for some time now. If you're hip to what a crop of young and hungry artists from the city of Kumasi in Ghana and beyond have been doing over the past year, then you already know about rapper Kofi Jamar.

Towards the end of November last year he dropped one of the biggest drill songs to emerge from Ghana's buzzing drill scene, the popular street anthem "Ekorso." In the December and January that followed, "Ekorso" was the song on everyone's lips, the hip-hop song that took over the season, with even the likes of Wizkid spotted vibing to the tune.

Currently sitting at over 10 million streams across digital streaming platforms, the song topped charts, even breaking records in the process. "Ekorso" maintained the number one spot on Apple Music's Hip-Hop/Rap: Ghana chart for two months uninterrupted, a first in the history of the chart. It also had a good stint at number one of the Ghana Top 100 chart as well, among several other accolades.

Even though he's the creator of what could be the biggest song of Ghana's drill movement till date, Kofi Jamar doesn't plan on replicating his past music or his past moves. He has just issued his second EP, a 6-track project titled Appetite for Destruction, and it would surprise you to know that there isn't a single drill song on it. Although drill played a huge role in his meteoric rise, he wants to be known as way more than just a drill rapper. He wants to be known as a complete and versatile artist, unafraid to engage in any genre — and he even looks forward to creating his own genre of music during the course of his career.

We spoke to Kofi Jamar about his latest EP, and he tells us about working with Teni, why he's gravitating away from drill to a new sound, and more. Check out our conversation below.

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