Kenyan-born, New York-based Wangechi Mutu’s life is a vibrant mixture of colors fueled by her fantastic imagination. Cross contamination happens all the time.
I live and work in the same building, which is perfect for me. My day’s about reading the paper, going upstairs and looking at the characters up on the wall, making coffee and putting the right music on, and then I start to compose piles of things I want to take from. I cut ferociously out of magazines. There are categories of things – eyes, wings, hair – so when I need to find something that’s like a frog’s leg or that looks like foliage, I’ve got it. I’ll work on eight to 10 pieces at a go.
Mutu’s collage art and paintings are both futuristic and oddly poetic. The images are frequently monstrosities. They are also beautiful. Complex and evocative, fantastically colorful, near explosive, Mutu’s images play with themes of objectification of the female body, race, colonialism and exploitation.
The women in her work present as daring figures inhabiting another universe. Alien, they are depicted with African features but white skin. They are often hairless, straddling distant universes, with their evocative, eerie allure.
She was educated in the United States and received an MFA from Yale in sculpture. The now 41 year old former graphic designer has lived more time outside of Kenya, her country of birth but her identity as an ‘African artist’ is always with her.
When I say I’m an African artist, I mean it’s part of my practice, part of who I am because I was born and raised there. But often when people say I’m an African artist, it’s reductive – it’s exotic, it comes from a world that’s in the past.
An extensive exhibition of her work is entitled A fantastic journey and is on display at the Brooklyn Museum of Art until March 2014. Spanning from the mid-1990s to the present, the exhibition unites more than fifty pieces, including Mutu’s signature large-scale collages as well as video works, never-before-seen sketchbook drawings, a site-specific wall drawing, and sculptural installations.
Read more about her in The Guardian here. is
Here is her website including the information who represents her internationally.