Kenyan Brings Life to New York With Iconic Sculptures

  • Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu is showcasing her work at the Storm King Art Center to Frank Stella at The Ranch
    Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu is showcasing her work at the Storm King Art Center to Frank Stella at The Ranch
    Courtesy
  • A Kenyan-American artist, Wangechi Mutu, has made history at the Storm King Art Center in New York.

    Mutu has been assigned a crucial space in the sculpture park known as “Museum Hill” where she is showcasing her work.

    According to the Art Newspaper, Mutu is showing eight large-scale bronze sculptures. They include the anthropomorphic Crocodylus which combines a female figure and a crocodile and appears to survey the park.

    Sculpture by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu showcasing at the Storm King Art Center to Frank Stella at The Ranch
    Sculpture by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu showcasing at the Storm King Art Center to Frank Stella at The Ranch
    Courtesy D’Angelo Lovell Williams via New York Times

    She is also showcasing the Fountain in Two Canoe (2022) which depicts two figures connecting with the natural environment. 

    The sculptures are encircled by maple trees and combine several household items into a pyramidal pile. She is aiming to show a distinction between the number of trees planted in affluent and poorer communities.

    Mutu has more work spread on Storm King’s Museum Hill which included five large bronze baskets. According to the New York Times, they are titled “Nyoka” (2022), and they seem to be filled with coiled snakes. 

    She also has a pair of tortoises titled “Kobe” (2022) and a basket, titled “Nywele” (2022), which contains a pile of plaited hair. 

    “What sparks fear and what signals comfort? We are also reminded that there is beauty, as well as a rich history, in the 'everyday tech' of baskets and braids," Mutu stated during an interview with the publication.

    "It’s frightening how dangerously close we are to losing everything on earth. We are still doing the most absurd things. I can’t believe a murder in Buffalo obliterated 10 lives. 

    "White supremacy, the climate emergency, the war in Ukraine we haven’t learnt anything. Or maybe everything we have learnt about knowledge sharing, humanity and our connection to the world is somehow no longer important. If we continue to destroy nature, it will stop feeding us," she added.

    Sculpture by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu showcasing at the Storm King Art Center to Frank Stella at The Ranch
    Sculpture by Kenyan artist Wangechi Mutu showcasing at the Storm King Art Center to Frank Stella at The Ranch
    Courtesy D’Angelo Lovell Williams via New York Times

    Mutu has a vibrant career in New York but she has made a point of establishing a studio in Nairobi. She lives between Nairobi and Brooklyn where she has captured the city's art enthusiasts with her work.

    She is a graduate of Yale University and her work has been exhibited worldwide. Mutu had a major retrospective that opened in the Nasher Museum of Art in North Carolina, the USA in 2013.

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