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Wangechi Mutu

Updated: Mar 10, 2019





Artist 81

Wangechi Mutu Afrofuturism Identity Mixed Mediums


Wangechi Mutu (born 1972) is a prominent international contemporary Kenyan-American artist known primarily for her painting, sculpture, film and performance work.


Born in Kenya, she has lived and established her career in New York for over twenty years.

Mutu's work has directed the female body as subject through collage painting, immersive installation, and live and video performance all the while exploring questions of self-image, gender constructs, cultural trauma and environmental destruction.


Wangechi Mutu's work crosses a variety of mediums and she investigates the themes of gender, race, and colonialism.



Her work, in part, centers on the violence and misrepresentation experienced by Black women in contemporary society.


A recurring theme of Mutu's work is depictions of femininity.


Her use of seemingly sexual or sensual pose, brings about discussion of the objectification of women. She specifically addresses the hyper-objectification of black female bodies by using an ‘otherworldly’ nature to reiterate how fictitious the nature of society's depictions of black women truly is.



Many of Mutu's artworks are known to be interpreted in contradictory ways, both seen as complicit to problematic society and as hopeful for future change in society.


The intentionally use of repulsive or otherworldly imagery may help woman to step away from perfection as it is presented in society and instead embrace their own imperfections and become more accepting of others flaws as well.


She's primarily interested in how identity pivots around a kind of social contract that can only be broken through personal and political re-invention and a re-writing of the codes that have been used to represent us.


Her work proposes the need for a multiple-consciousness and an awareness of identity as performance to be able to remake the rules that bind our imagination.



The almost science fiction-like nature of her imagery has placed her work within the realm of Afrofuturism, and her practice is often discussed as providing an alternate course of history for people of African descent.


Deeply concerned with Western commercialism, Mutu has explained that “a lot of my work reflects the incredible influence that America has had on contemporary African culture. Some of it's insidious, some of it's innocuous, some of it's invisible. It's there.”



The contradiction of the hyper sexualized female body and it being one of corner stones of Abject reflects how our contradictory our society is. Capturing this in an artwork is very difficult and very masterly achieved here






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