"If you touch something, you leave a charge on it and anybody else touching it connects with you, in a way." ?El Anatsui Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui has always written his own story. As an
"If you touch something, you leave a charge on it and anybody else touching it connects with you, in a way." ?El Anatsui
Ghanaian sculptor El Anatsui has always written his own story. As an art student, he noticed that the works he was studying were grounded in European traditions. Curious about his own people's art history, El found stories in the fabrics they wore and the way they used recycled goods. He decided to tell these stories through his artwork.
El experimented with different mediums. He fired broken clay pieces into pots and sculpted wood using a chain saw. After coming across a discarded bag of bottle tops, El grew inspired with this new material. He disassembled, flattened, and reshaped the bottle tops, then stitched them together with wire. The results were large, flowing tapestries that tell stories about history and culture, and link people together. Today, El's bottle top sculptures are showcased all over the world, fascinating audiences everywhere.
Here is the captivating biography of a sculptor whose passion, creativity, and awe—inspiring artwork reminds us that making powerful art is about being true to your story.
View Biographical note
Alison Goldberg is a writer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the author of I
Love You for Miles and Miles. She blogs about activism in children's literature and loves
researching everything from marine life to contemporary art for her books. Alison first
learned about El Anatsui's work while studying art in Ghana in 1995 and has sought
opportunities to see his sculptures ever since. You can visit her online at
Elizabeth Zunon earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration degree at the Rhode
Island School of Design and has illustrated many books for children, including Lee &
Low Books's Poems in the Attic by Nikki Grimes. Zunon spent her childhood in Ivory
Coast, West Africa, and now lives in Albany, New York, where she was born. Zunon was
inspired by both the fragility and the strength of El Anatsui's works and created the
illustrations for Bottle Tops with paint and cut—paper collage. You can visit her online at
View Description for sales people
Key Selling Points
- Answers the demand for picture books about Black people that explore Black culture,
values, and pride, and are not focused on oppression.
- Highlights the life and accomplishments of an African artist who is passionate about
reusing discarded materials to create art that engages with culture, community, and
- Demonstrates the power of creative thinking, experimentation, and innovation in
- Presents an admirable role model for leadership and ingenuity.
- Will appeal to all children who enjoy making and crafting; appropriate for maker spaces
and story hours.
- Includes an author's note that discusses El Anatsui's bottle top sculptures and
- Provides a positive example of expression through artistic outlets.
The inspiring biography of Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, whose handmade sculptures,
created from discarded bottle tops, have received international acclaim and been
showcased around the world.
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