Sunday, April 17, 2011

Recycled Art in Africa

Africa has become the land of recycling, where poor people dress in donated western clothes, wear sandals made from old truck tires, build houses from leaky shipping crates, and so on. Some African artists have made this frugality part of their aesthetic, and many of the continent's top names are men who work mainly with junk. These masks by Romuald Hazoume of Benin approximate traditional forms but are made out of "found objects."

One of the biggest African artists these days is El Anatsui, who makes these large hangings out of bottle caps and similar bits of discarded metal.

The way these works evoke both African artistic traditions and the facts of contemporary life makes them more interesting to me than the found object art I have seen in North America.

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