I started thinking about the bottle caps, instead of the architectural space. And then I thought about the history of the institution and the name ‘Tate’. Anybody my age would know Tate & Lyle, the sugar that we ate during the colonial era. And that’s the same Tate that became responsible for this museum, which is now built for the education of society. I thought that I should play with elements from that history, from the history of the enslaved people to the commodities they produced, and the economy they helped to create.
In preparation for El Anatsui’s new commission at the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, Osei Bonsu, Curator, international Art at Tate Modern, visits him at his studio in Accra, Ghana to talk about the unique properties of materials, his environmental concerns, and how tradition can be a springboard for new ideas.