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El Anatsui: Shard Song

Efiɛ Gallery launches its new permanent space in Al Quoz with a solo exhibition by the Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui, curated by Mae-Ling Lokko and creatively directed by Aida Muluneh. El Anatsui is noted for this bottle cap works and there are some of those in this show, but it majors on a series of new wooden sculptures that recall Anatsui’s earlier practice in this medium.

Said Lokko: “The term ‘shard’ goes back to the fundamental unit in El Anatsui’s work – the broken fragment of the ceramic pot, the bit, or piece that has undergone a process of rupture and division. But ‘shard’ here, communicates the quality and potential of the broken piece – of something that’s edges are left bare; exposed but ultimately, ‘free’. Shard also brings with it a degree of lifeforce within the small-scale of the fragment.

“The idea of the ‘song’ belonging to the shard, gives the shard agency. It also taps into the dynamism and movement that has evolved in the iterative process of the wood carvings. What emerges is an almost-musical quality to the wood panels’ pattern of carving and notes of colour. There is a fluidity in the chaos, and visibility of force that propels the small scale carvings across the wood panels. I felt the word ‘song’ brings it together in an intimate, personal way, communicating the joy, and liberatory notes in the works. The idea that ‘each shard has its own song’ gives dignity and a unique power to each, but ‘song’ still can also be taken to mean the whole, cumulative impact of many individual shard songs.”

To 31 May.

Efiɛ Gallery, which will specialise in bringing contemporary African art to the Middle East, debuted back in October with a pop-up in Burj Plaza as part of the All Africa Festival. It’s now become one of the first tenants for the Al Khayat Art Avenue development on First Al Khail Street.

Exhibition: Shard Song
Private view: Monday 7th March 2022
Public opening: 8th March – 31st May 2022
Opening hours: 10am – 8pm, (Monday to Sunday)
Location: Efiɛ Gallery, 2 Al Khayat Art Avenue, First Al Khail Street, Al Quoz, Dubai

Credit: El Anatsui: Shard Song – magpie