El Anatsui in 1969 received his BA in art from the College of Art at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. From the same university, he also received a Postgraduate Diploma in Art Education. He is currently a professor of sculpture in the Fine and Applied Arts Department at the University of Nigeria since 1996. Although he was born and raised in the Volta Region of Ghana, he currently lives and works in Nigeria for the past twenty-eight years.
Anatsui is recognized as one of the foremost contemporary artists of his generation. His earliest wood reliefs and deep etching pieces incorporate Ghanaian motifs as well as uli and insibidi designs from the Nsukka group in Nigerian. El Anatsui’s most recent works include shiny cloths made from thousands of bottle-tops and discarded tins. He is a remarkable artist who is able to transform these objects that are seen as trash into something beautiful. He states, “Art grows out of each particular situation, and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up.”
In recent times, El Anatsui has exhibited his works around the world, and is currently embarking on a national tour of his exhibition entitled “When I Last Wrote To You About Africa,” curated by Lisa Binder in the United States.