Emmanuel Kwami Anatsui is a painter and sculptor born in Anyako, Ghana in 1944. He obtained a B.A, majoring in Sculpture, in 1968; a postgraduate diploma in art education in 1969; and won the best student of the year award, 1969 all from the College of Art, University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana. He started out as a lecturer at the Specialist Training Centre, Winneba, Ghana between 1969-1975. He then relocated to Nigeria and became a sculpture professor at the Department of Fine and Applied Art of the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1975. Anatsui has spent the better part of his career in Nigeria and has explored different media including wood, clay and found objects in his creative, sculptural experiments as an artist. His first solo exhibition in Nigeria was the "Wooden Wall Plaques by El Anatsui," Asele Art Gallery, Nsukka, in February, 1976. His works are filled with Ghanian motifs together with symbols of uli, nsibidi and adinkra as he explores themes surrounding Nigerian and Ghanaian cultures and heritage. Recently, he has shifted his focus to installation art and has garnered so much international acclaim and recognition for his niche “bottle-top installations”. He is currently the biggest and most celebrated artist from Africa.

This Untitled piece shows a classic creative experiment typical of El Anatsui, done with wooden panels. He normally cuts his wood into panels with a chainsaw before he engraves signs and motifs all over them, then paints them with colours. The panels on the work have been rounded and smoothened. Some of them are not fully rounded in shape like others. The black engraved motifs are symbols of the uli art.


  • Title: Untitled
  • Creator: El Anatsui
  • Creator Lifespan: 1944
  • Creator Nationality: Nigerian
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Birth Place: Anyakor, Ghana
  • Date Created: 1990
  • Location Created: Nsukka, Nigeria
  • Physical Dimensions: Height-92cm
  • Type: Sculpture
  • Original Source: Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art
  • Rights: Yemisi Shyllon Museum of Art, Pan-Atlantic University
  • Medium: Wood

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