El Anatsui creates sculptures that allude to contemporary consumer habits and to the history of colonialism in his home nation and in his current country of residence, Nigeria. This shimmering sheet is composed of liquor-bottle caps and seals discarded by Nigerian distilleries. Anatsui and his assistants have flattened, folded, and carefully linked the pieces together with copper wire, creating a simple repetition of forms on a grand scale.
For Anatsui, bottle caps represent “the material which was there at the beginning of the contact between two continents.” In the complex networks of exchange established between Africa and Europe as early as the fifteenth century, Europeans used alcohol to barter for African goods, and alcohol eventually became a key commodity in the transatlantic slave trade.
Like all of Anatsuis malleable hanging sculptures, Bleeding Takari II looks slightly different each time it is installed. The title is evocative yet purposefully mysterious: “Takari” is a fictional name created by the artist, with no specific referent.
Gallery label from 2013.