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First South African Solo Museum Exhibition – El Anatsui: Meyina

Iziko South African National Gallery

Iziko South African National Gallery until 29 April 2018

The first ever solo museum exhibition, on South African soil, of works by internationally acclaimed artist, El Anatsui recently opened at the Iziko South African National Gallery. In a career that spans over four decades Anatsui has created a vast body of work that has expanded the language of contemporary sculpture in Africa and the globe.

The show entitled, “El Anatsui: Meyina,” presents a portrait of the artist; highlighting aspects of his artistic practice and his career as a university professor, clearly  illustrating how his work has impacted on several generations of artists; curators and writers from across the continent.

Anatsui transforms simple materials into complex assemblages that create distinct visual impact. The works showcased in the exhibition: large-scalesculptural installations, which read like intricate tapestries, are composed of thousands of crumpled pieces of metal bound together with copper wire. The works engages with, and comments on, African history, post-colonial conditions, as well as the daily realities and experiences on the continent.

Bringing such a compelling exhibition to South African audiences facilitates greater opportunity to create awareness, as well as an appreciation of African perspectives and more diverse continental narratives. Iziko is honoured to host an exhibition of such an iconic artist.

There are significant linkages in his work to present day South Africa where we are currently experiencing an intense and important time of renewed energy and dynamism across all spheres of creativity and discourse that is particularly apparent among a younger generation of cultural activists .In addition, the narratives of African colonial and post -colonial histories, and the effects of consumerism on the environment, as articulated in many of the pieces on show, are relevant to current conversations taking place in both local and  global context amongst diverse groups and nations,” says Rooksana Omar, Chief Executive Officer of Iziko Museums of South Africa.  

The public are encouraged to visit the Gallery and view these masterpieces; as each piece of metal, wire or bottle top draws the observer into the artist’s process. Meyina is not exhibition but an experience.

In the Ghanaian language of Ewe, Meyina translated to English means ‘I am going’. El Anatsui: Meyina is presented by Iziko Museums of South Africa, in partnership with the Goodman Gallery, and the Friends of the Iziko South African National Gallery. 

The exhibition is curated by Bisi Silva, Director of the Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos, and will be open to the public at the Iziko South African National Gallery (ISANG) until 29 April 2018.

El Anatsui was awarded the prestigious Praemium Imperiale Award for Sculpture in 2017; in 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Cape Town; in 2015 he received the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award at the 56th International Art Exhibition of the Biennale di Venezia – All the World’s Futures; in 2014, he was made an Honorary Royal Academician and elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and, in 2009, Anatsui received the Prince Claus Award.


– ENDS –

Issued by:  Kim Lindeboom
Communications Coordinator: Department of Advancement, Iziko Museums of South Africa
Landline: 021 481 38974 Cell: 083 356 6043

On behalf of: Office of the CEO, Iziko Museums of South Africa


About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)

Iziko operates 11 national museums, the Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Social History Centre and three collection‑specific libraries in Cape Town.  The museums that make up Iziko have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage.  Iziko is a public entity and non-profit organisation that brings together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure. The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope and Planetarium). Visit our webpage at, join our online community on Facebook ( or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions. 

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