Bottle top artwork sets new world record for El Anatsui at Bonhams

New World Map, an artwork by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui featuring bottle tops, has set a new world record for the artist at Bonhams.

Based on the traditional woven silk cloth made in Ghana, El Anatsui employed flattened bottle caps woven together to form the mesmerising tapestry, a commentary on the balance of power in the world.

The 16 foot-wide piece, made in 2009, sold for £541,250 ($850,544) at the London auction on May 23, comfortably within estimate.

El Anatsui tapestry
£541,250 - the new record for El Anatsui

While El Anatsui is by no means a household name for many collectors, the visual impact of the work and its profound message boosted its value on the auction floor, and is a superb indication of the strength of the art market in general.

Total art sales worldwide grew by 7% in 2011, according to the European Fine Art Foundation (TEFAF) - you can capitalise on the upward progression of the sector at PFC Auctions' online sale, which ends tonight.

Giles Peppiatt, the director of Bonhams' contemporary African art department, commented: "We are delighted to make a world record with this stunning work.

"It speaks of Africa in its use of traditional patterning but is very much of the moment - a massive hauntingly beautiful contemporary statement."

Born in 1944, El Anatsui is regarded as one of the leading African contemporary artists. He is based in Nigeria as head of sculpture at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The previous record for El Anatsui was set earlier this month, when a smaller tapestry achieved $722,500 in New York.

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