El Anatsui Legendary Ghanaian artist receives honorary degree from Harvard

72-year-old Ghanaian professor awarded honorary degree by Harvard University.

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Ghanaian artist El Anatsui has been awarded an honorary degree by Harvard University.

The 72 year old professor emeritus was named along with eight others for the highly selective degrees that were conferred at the 365th Commencement ceremony for Harvard’s class of 2016.

The globally acclaimed artist is a professor of sculpture and employs scrap metals, bottle tops, wood and ceramics. He is also the jury chair of the Kuenyehia Prize, an annual prize to reward Ghanaian artists.

Related: Exclusive interview with Bright Ackwerh; winner of the 2016 Kuenyehia Prize

El Anatsui received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969 from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology and taught at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka from 1975 until his retirement in 2011.

play Gli (Wall) from 2010

 

Some of his works are in the permanent collections at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; British Museum and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

One of his most famous pieces is Gli (Wall) from 2010.

The other honorary doctorate awardees were Oscar winning film director Steven Speilberg (also principal speaker);  former Brazilian president Fernando Henrique Cardoso; history professor David Davis; biochemist Elaine Fuchs; philosopher Judith Jarvis Thomson; civil rights activist Mary Bonauto, humanities professor Arnold Rampersad and cosmologist the right honourable Lord Martin Rees.

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