In 1998, El Anatsui (1944), Ghanaian sculptor active for much of his career in Nigeria, began to use bottle caps sourced from alcohol recycling stations in his works. Such materials are free and flexible, which often helps with manipulation when installing his sculptures, exploring multiple themes in connection with colonialism and the history of Africa.
For the exhibition staged to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Museum Collection, gallery 304 is going back to its original layout, opening out onto the Atrium to host El Anatsui’s monumental work Rising Sea – a thought-provoking title that brings to mind the dangerous effects of climate change. Rising Sea’s organic, monochromatic forms resonate with the polished titanium surface on the outside of the gallery. What stories are the hundreds of elements that make this work telling us?