Artist Spotlight: Wangechi Mutu

Janice K. Johnson


Top Image: “Le Noble Savage”, 2006. Ink and collage on Mylar. 233 x 137.2 cm.

Wangechi Mutu was born in June 1972 in Nairobi, Kenya. The Kenyan-born American visual artist is known for painting, sculpting, film, and performance work. She studied in Loreto Convent Msongari before joining United World College of Atlantic. She has since established her career in New York. 

Wangechi has depicted herself as a feministic artist because most of her work entails violence meted upon black women in society.  Mutu tries to show how black women in society have been subjected to serial harassment by members of society. Mutu’s work seems quite contradictory because she depicts a problematic society and at the same is hopeful that society will change how it treats women.

“Once upon a time she said, I’m not afraid and her enemies began to fear her The end”, 2013. Mixed media. Dimensions variable.

Mutu’s work has been exhibited in many museums including the San Francisco Museum of Art, Miami Art Museum, and The Centre for Fine Arts, Brussels. In 2014 she created a charitable organization called Africa’s Out,  which supports artists whose works are about African traditions.  Her film The End of Carrying All was exhibited at the Museum of Fine Arts, in Houston, Texas. Mutu was honored by Deutsche Bank as their very first “Artist of the Year” in 2010. She was also awarded the Blackstar Festival Audience Award for Favourite Experimental Film.

“Misguided Little Unforgivable Hierarchies”, 2005. Ink, acrylic, collage, contact paper on Mylar. 205.7 x 132.1 cm.





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