This work by an African master of international renown is a highly original creation that constitutes a response to a classic canonical form of expression. It is a powerful instance of the vitality of contemporary expression in Africa and the continuity that exists with the traditional forms that are the focus of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection. The recent series of works that "Between Earth and Heaven" relates to refer to the celebrated West African traditions of strip-woven textiles namely that of Kente developed by Akan and Ewe weavers in Anatsui's native Ghana. Those traditional textiles are at once monumental in scale and highly sculptural in the way they drape the body as the apparel of leaders. The undulation of this work evokes that tactile quality and its resplendent color scheme of gold, red, and black translate and transpose the aesthetic of finely woven silk into the medium of base metal.
Created by El Anatsui, Ghana, 2006; [David Krut Fine Art, Inc., New York, until 2007]
LaGamma, Alisa, and Christine Giuntini. The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End. New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008, cat. no. 16, pp. 66-68.