El Anatsui is a Ghanian sculptor who creates sumptuous textile installations. Using thousands of found objects, he sews together vibrant tapestries of scrap metal and bottle caps, creating fluidity out of shrapnel and tradition. Rather than rigidly controlling the construction and mounting of each piece, he prefers to let it drape naturally, ever-changing to reflect its new surroundings. Utterly magnificent.
…and I believe that artists are better off working with whatever their environment throws up. I think that’s what has been happening in Africa for a long time, in fact not only in Africa but the whole world, except that maybe in the West they might have developed these ‘professional’ materials.
But I don’t think that working with such prescribed materials would be very interesting to me – industrially produced colours for painting. I believe that colour is inherent in everything, and it’s possible to get colour from around you, and that you’re better off picking something which relates to your circumstances and your environment than going to buy a ready-made colour.