From 28 April until 13 May, Christie’s will present Material Earth, an exhibition in collaboration with Efie Gallery. Inaugurated in 2021 and based in Dubai, Efie Gallery’s programme focuses on West African art with an emphasis on Ghana. Material Earth showcases the work of three pioneering Ghanaian artists: El Anatsui, Yaw Owusu and Isshaq Ismail. These artists have each established their own distinctive visual languages, existing well beyond the recent focus upon West African portraiture. Efie Gallery’s selection demonstrates the breadth and scope of their programme and their desire to look beyond current market trends. El Anatsui has emerged as the foremost contemporary sculptor from the African continent. Isshaq Ismail’s playful and dynamic portraits have established him as one of the most sought-after artists to emerge from the recent surge of interest in contemporary African art. Yaw Owusu is a young emerging artist who, like El Anatsui, reconstitutes upcycled materials including coins to create rich, shimmering abstractions. The title Material Earth is a reflection of the upcycling process: a practice which permeates daily life in West Africa, as well as fine art in the case of these artists. The exhibition is a synthesis of these principles, the use of everyday materials transformed into works of complex beauty.
‘We had an etching press behind our kitchen and I suggested that Paula might like to have a go’ — memories of making prints with Paula Rego
‘When Matisse dies, Chagall will be the only painter left who understands what colour really is’ — Pablo Picasso, 1954