Wangechi Mutu


Wangechi Mutu (born 1972) explores the violence and misrepresentation that women, particularly Black women, experience in the world. Mutu references artists such as Gustav Klimt, Chris Ofili, and Egon Schiele, as well as the surrealist movement, Western commercialism, and African culture. Her collages, paintings, and prints capture engaging narratives and layered symbolism. Mutu’s work has often been described as a form of myth-making, one in which fact and fiction blend together. This creates a realm of possibilities for a new pantheon of female characterizations, standing apart from narratives that appear in either classical history or popular culture. 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.” 


Known for her intricate drawings and collages on paper and Mylar, Mutu began her career as a sculptor. After attending high school in Wales, she came to the United States to study art. Mutu holds a BFA from Cooper Union and an MFA from Yale University. Her work has been the subject of solo shows at museums and institutions throughout the United States and abroad including: Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; and the Miami Art Museum, Miami. Her work has also appeared in numerous group shows at institutions including: Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York. 


Related Works

  • Contemporary artist Mika Rottenberg also explores the otherhood of women and minority groups, with a focus on questions of labor and value in late capitalist society. View her work.
  • Wangechi Mutu's monstrous subjects recall the sculptural work of the late French-American artist Louise Bourgeois. Bourgeois was a pioneer of confessional art who depicted her family members as grotesque spiders and other creatures. View her work.