LOS ANGELES, CA.- The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) and the Fowler Museum at UCLA announce the joint purchase, with major support from The Broad Art Foundation, of Fading Scroll, a significant work by El Anatsui, one of Africas most heralded contemporary artists. Recently named by Britains The Independent as one of the fifty greatest cultural figures shaping Africa, Anatsui was born in Ghana in 1944 and has lived and worked in Nigeria since 1975.
Typical of Anatsuis recent work, Fading Scroll (2007) is made of various discarded materials, including thousands of metal liquor bottle wrappers and tops stitched together with copper wire. Anatsui transforms these byproducts of contemporary life in urban Africa into a sumptuous and stunningly beautiful large-scale tapestry or wall sculpture that evolves in each new installation, draping differently to fit the particular aspects of any given space. Fading Scroll references traditional African textilesGhanaian kente cloth in particularwhile also embracing interpretative possibilities such as the grandeur of Byzantine mosaics, the visual richness of Klimts portrait backgrounds, and Gaudís architectural decoration.
The acquisition of Fading Scroll marks the first time that the Fowler and LACMA have acquired a work of art jointly, and reflects a new partnership for exhibitions, loans, and scholarly exchange. Both museums are thrilled to partner on this acquisition, which grows the Fowlers and LACMAs investment in African art while also furthering the collaboration between these two institutions said leaders Michael Govan, LACMAs CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director, and Marla C. Berns, Shirley and Ralph Shapiro Director of the Fowler Museum, in a joint statement. We are particularly pleased to advance the representation of contemporary African art as well the collaborative nature of Los Angeles museums through the generous support of The Broad Art Foundation.
El Anatsuis work garnered critical acclaim last year in the traveling exhibition, El Anatsui: Gawu, at the Fowler Museum, which recently completed its tour at the Smithsonian Institutions National Museum of African Art, and in the 2007 Venice Biennale. Fading Scroll will be included in Transformations: Recent Contemporary African Acquisitions at the Fowler from February 22 to June 14, 2009.