Nigeria: Prestigious Harvard University honours famous Ghanaian Sculptor, El Anatsui

Lagos, Nigeria (PANA) - Renowned Ghanaian Sculptor, El Anatsui, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Arts degree by the prestigious Harvard University in the US at its 26 May, 365th Commencement ceremony for 2016.

Prof. Anatsui, who taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), is Emeritus Professor at the UNN, according to Mrs. Therese Nweke, Head of Media and Communications at the ANATSUI ART INITIATIVE (AAI) in Lagos, Nigeria.

In a recent statement, Harvard described the Professor of Sculpture as: "a pre-eminent West African artist, widely recognised for sculptures and shimmering, tapestry-like wall hangings made from found objects".

It added that El Anatsui's work: "interrogates the history of colonialism and draws connections between consumption, waste and the environment, but at the core is his unique formal language that distinguishes his practice".

Among the nine Harvard University honorands this year were the acclaimed American filmmaker, Steven Spielberg; and the British astrophysicist and cosmologist, Lord Martin Rees of Ludlow, former Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, and Emeritus Professor at Cambridge.

Others were the stem cell scientist, Elaine Fuchs; and the Trinidadian born biographer, Arnold Rampersad, a leading scholar on Race and African-American literature, and Emeritus Professor at Stanford.

Mrs. Nweke also indicated that the University of Cape Town (UCT), South Africa, has announced that on 14 June, it will award El Anatsui an Honorary Doctorate degree in Fine Arts at its 2016 graduation ceremonies.

In a recent statement, the university described Prof. Anatsui as: "the most significant living African artist", whose work "has had an important epistemic contribution in the training of artists nationally, in particular in South African universities, and (whose) life's work bears testament to the kind of scholarship UCT invites".

Prof. Anatsui majored in Sculpture at the University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana, and also did his postgraduate work in Art Education there. He has lived and worked in Nigeria since 1975 and has influenced a generation of African artists. As well as being an art educator, El Anatsui is a prolific sculptor whose work can be accessed in scores of private and public collections, globally and continentally, including the permanent collections of 55 major international museums, 25 of which are in the US.

Other notable repositories of El Anatsui's work are the British Museum; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Setagaya Art Museum, Tokyo; The Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi; The World Bank; The Ontario Museum; The Rubell Family Collection, Miami; and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, Washington. El Anatsui has exhibited on every continent, and more than once at the Venice Biennale - the art world's most pre-eminent event.

He is globally acknowledged as "Africa's most recognised contemporary artist", and is the subject of numerous art books, biographies, dissertations, films, reviews and articles.

El Anatsui has received numerous awards and prizes from various countries, including Japan, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain and the US.

These include the Venice Biennale's highest honour, that of The Golden Lion Award for Lifetime Achievement; Honorary Academician of Britain's Royal Academy of Arts; Laureate of The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development in the Netherlands; and The Visionaries Artist Award, Museum of Arts and Design, New York. He has also been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as an Honorary Member in Visual Arts Criticism and Practice.
-0- PANA PR/VAO 2June2016

02 june 2016 12:52:24

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