Wangechi Mutu’s work, particularly her collage-drawings of exploited black female figures subjected to strange bodily mutations, which she has regularly exhibited since the end of the 1990s, has garnered consistent attention. In these works, but also in her sculptures, installations and videos, Mutu evokes the intertwining relationship between living organisms, humans, and the power of nature. The broad spectrum of her primary materials—magazines from the worlds of fashion, political news, geography, ethnography, motorcycling, and pornography—enable her to tackle the media’s stereotypical representations, especially of women, by exposing the weakness of their foundations. In her exploration of identity and the African diaspora, Wangechi Mutu creates new, non-standard models that deconstruct images used to incite rash consumption and that lead to a superficial and schematic understanding of the world: the world in general—Western—and its clearly known and recognized codes and standards, and the generally misunderstood world of the other and the foreigner.

Moth Girls, 2010, Various objects and materials, 246 ceramic figurines, leather wings, feathers, paper, and wash.
© Wangechi Mutu • Photo: Richard-Max Tremblay