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visual artist and writer marisol diaz

i am a self-defined Nuyorican creative (that is a Puerto Rican who is from both the isles of Manhattan, NYC and the Caribbean). I share daily in the joy of education and live in a cute port town in New York, in a 'teensy-weensy' apartment with my two dogs and canary named Valentino. Check out my Etsy shop for purchasable pieces. Please do not reproduce imagery off of this site without explicit credit and no derivatives may be made of my original imagery- Thank You.

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El Anatsui at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Since I find one of my overall passions as an artist and a blogger is to blur the line between fine art and craft, I like to feature both artist and art that walks this fine line. This past summer I was surprised to find Ghanian born artist El Anatsui featured as part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's recent acquisitions. And for those of you who are lovers of art made from recycled materials you will be sure to love this find as well!

Dusasa II by El Anatsui @ the Metropolitan Museum of Art

The piece you see featured above is made from thousands and thousands of found aluminum and copper wire (flattened and discarded aluminum caps) that are weaved together. It is a wall-hanging and is quite large (full wall scale) I was craning my neck and having to step far back in the gallery to photograph it. El Anatsui is considered the foremost African contemporary sculptor.

detail of Dusasa II 2007 by El Anatsui

The community based Ghanian kente cloth construction of this piece can also be compared to mosaic work, folk art, and even the patterning that has been treasured in Gustav Klimt's paintings. The following images truly show the majesty and mastery of the piece.

detail shot of El Anatsui's DusasaII, 2007 piece

According to the artist (as I read on the title card)

the term Dusasa can be translated as 'a patchwork made by a team of towns people'
However another beautifully poignant quote from the artist that I found at another site states:
Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up.
- El Anatsui, 2003

super detail of El Anatsui's DesasaII wall hanging

On a side note - if you enjoy seeing El Anatsui's work, I recommend the National Museum of African Art site, which has a specially designated section on El Anatsui and three of his major works with podcasts of the artist talking. In addition, if you just google 'El Anatsui' amazing articles and images of his work come up!

Furthermore, if you love this kind of eco-conscious art-making you will really enjoy the Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. When I lived there I got to go often and it was indeed one of my all time favorite places to be! Please let me know what you think!

Reader Comments (15)

this guys work is just amazing,...I am definitely going to show him in my modern art history class this spring, maybe even contrast/ compare him with Klimt. Thank-you for doing the post and finding the other sites with him. hope others get the chance to see his work in person!

January 31, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterstainboy

Oh, goodness gracious. That guys astounding. I couldn't understand what was happening at all until it slowly started getting closer and closer and I started gaining a better sense of size. That's a lot caps... I went from :| to :O.

Whenever I start hoarding stuff to make new things, I always forget and it ends up sitting in my room, but I gotta learn how to follow through with that stuff.

February 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercolin.

I found this piece to be really interesting because of the illusion of it being one massive unit of waves but in actuality is composed of thousands of aluminum cans. It shows the strength of the individual. Also, the color and design reminded me of the wet sand on the beach or even a beehive.

February 6, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

At first I didn't get it...I didn't see any "value" in it, but knowing it is all bottle caps is impressive, to say the least. That's a lot of work, time, dedication, and patience...great artist.

February 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterOgun

I really like the way it moves.

and looking at the photos of this piece really plants little seeds in my mind, each in a different facet of my imagination, each with its own potential. what i mean is, the whole piece inspires thought philosophically, aesthetically, texturally, and otherwise. It's a lot to take in and it can take you to several places in your mind and the artist's. I like it. I like it a lot.

February 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShireen

with the seeds i mean, (here are some examples)
the thing about the piece translating into "a patchwork made by a team of towns people'
perhaps because of the cans. You could say that makes a statement about the individual and his or her relation to the whole.

the fact that the material being used is a common, everyday object you can find in any part of the world, rich or poor and that it can create something beautiful -- thats finding beauty in unexpected places and showcasing it appropriately

yeah... i could go on.

February 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShireen

I have a different reaction to this, since the look of the finished piece reminds me so much of wallpaper that used to be in my house. The drape-like raggedness of it is very comforting to me for some reason. I really like it, and appreciate it all the more because of how it's made. Very cool.

February 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

When I first saw these two pieces, I was slightly confused due to creativity the author presented. However, as I paid more attention toward two pieces, I started seeing some great features that are very unique. The first piece shows a pattern of wave that reminds of waterfall. The second piece is amazing since every single clamp shaped metals have different shapes which seems to be done by the author. These two pieces are just awesome!!!

February 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick

When I looked at the picture of the entire piece and then the close up picture of the material, I didn't believe they were the same piece. It is incredible how these simple bottle caps, which on their own are ugly and boring, can create one piece with great color and dimension.

February 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

This guy is great! The way he used recycled parts is so cool. Very creative! LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

February 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlex

At first to me, like most modern art pieces do, it seemed like just some semi-coloured stuff on a chiseled slab. After reading the description and taking a closer look at the work, I see that it must have taken an extremely long time to finish and that it is truly complex and truly reflects the skill and vision of El Anatsui.

February 10, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterConor

The variation in both texture and color make this a fascinating art piece. The modern art facet of the piece, definitely allows the viewer to use his or her imagination when taking a closer look. The sheer size seems to be overwhelming, although i would assume so even more in person. It is also interesting to see the way some African art has developed in the large time span since the art we studied first semester. Overall a truly captivating art piece I hope I get the chance to see one day.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Fisher

compared to pieces we have studied first semester, this piece gave me a broader view on art. It was a beautiful piece of art and it moved me.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJenna

I really like how this piece of work changes so much from a distance to up close. From far, you would never have guessed what material was used or how it was made. But when you zoom in and take a closer look, you can see the detail and intricate designs used to make such a magnificent piece. Along with that, the piece changes no matter where you look and always keeps you hooked.

February 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKunal

Amazing! That is what you call a masterpiece. Only you can make that art.

July 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrilliant Wall Art

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