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in the Museum of African art part of the Smithsonian on the mall in washington D C and we're looking at a spectacular wall hanging by a very well-known contemporary African artists from Ghana by Li Na tui who are born and gone raise their spent most of his time as an artist in sukkah Nigeria we're looking at a recent work which is at first glance I textiles and textile is important in Ghana and has a long history probably most familiar with kente cloth the predominant colour encounters colder is associated with royalty and the child to control over the gold trade and so elements who is using gone in this work to give it that sense of royal reverence and authority what we're looking at our small pieces of metal that are reclaimed most often from liquor bottles that have been pounded and then wired together which returns us to traditional West African culture importance of alcohol and a vibration in many traditional societies in West Africa there is a strong belief in the importance of generating an honoring ancestors especially when one eat and so before taking that first bite when that first drink you poor libations you pour a bit of palm wine or some other kind of alcohol to the ancestors just dribbling a bit onto the ground and so we have a reference here to that tradition this was refuse and what the artist has done is to correct these items and to transform them into something that has powerful meaning and is stunningly beautiful this sculpture this textile was made up of pieces there is smaller square sheets of this material that would have been created by honor to be in today more so by men he employs in his workshop who create these squares and then later mountain alan crivaro often climb up on a ladder look from above to figure out how to arrange them and put them together and he made travel with this piece and put it up or it might just be shipped and it's really up to the curator how it's going to be hung so when each new location it takes on a different form notice it's not flat it really is intended to be scrapped Sean come out into our space really interested in the idea that this was something that was done not only by the artist but also by his workshop in the west we often think of that as detracting from the value of the object because the artist is not solely responsible for the work but and culture traditional cloth was often a more communal activity absolutely insane elements to be where we want that need to be recognized with this piece of modern art really acknowledges that there are other people that come together to make this possible one thing that he also mentioned is that these objects have had a life before and in fact they've been touched in handles manipulated by someone in that harkens back to belief system in France among the Ashanti for example this idea soon soon or an aura and energy that gets transferred into objects that people handle most often so has an energy and electricity authority vitality of this history those words energy vitality are so appropriate just visually to the surface look at the way that the light plays over you called it sculptural it is not a flat surface borges there are valleys and hills and RI rides over this release and choice surface we have to remember that this is received clear this is a piece it's completely recycled from materials that would have otherwise ended up in large trash heaps just outside of almost any major city in Africa using his traditional visual vocabulary his heritage to make sense of this very complicated idea of consumerism and capitalism that is such a part of people's lives in africa today