Recycled Sculpture Inspired by El Anatsui

El Anatsui is a Ghanaian sculptor who lives and works in Nigeria. He makes large-scale forms from bottle caps and wrappers woven together with copper wire. Create your own recycled sculpture inspired by El Anatsui’s piece Old Man’s Cloth from the Harn collection.

Silhouette by Gawu

What You’ll Need

    • Stapler or paperclips
    • Ruler
    • Scissors
    • Aluminum foil
    • Cereal or frozen pizza box
    • Paint or markers

What You’ll Do

    1. Cut a 9 x 7 inch sheet of foil and a 9 x 7 inch sheet from your cereal or pizza box.
    2. Add light strokes of paint or marker (any color!) to both sheets to add depth. Allow parts of the unpainted surface to show. Let dry.
    3. Cut at least 15, 1 x 3 inch strips from your combined sheets.
    4. Create 3 rows of vertical strips in ascending order (4, 5, and 6 strips across).
    5. Staple each row of strips together, connecting the pieces at the bottom.
    6. Staple the connected rows together, lining them together on the stapled side.
    7. Continue adding rows of strips until you are happy with your composition!

Keep Experimenting:

    1. Use different materials such as fabrics or parchment paper.
    2. Try various ways to add texture or depth to your materials such as tea or coffee staining.
    3. Instead of cutting strips from your materials try squares or circles.

Image: Old Man’s Cloth, El Anatsui, 2003, aluminum and copper wire, 16 ft. x 17 ft. 1 in, Museum purchase with funds from friends of the Harn Museum.