Presented by Keyes Art Mile
The 2016 FNB JoburgArtFair and Keyes Art Mile are proud to present Wangechi Mutu as the 2016 Featured Artist.
The Kenyan born artist comes to the fair as the highlight of this year’s curatorial focus on contemporary and modern art practices from East Africa and its diaspora.
Mutu spent the last two decades living and working in New York. Being based in America has helped her to build what is today a global art practice. Mutu was raised and received her primaryand secondary education in Nairobi before moving to the UK to study in Wales, returning to Nairobi and thereafter beginning her art degree in New York in the early 1990s.
Wangechi continues to work in New York whilst establishing a studio in Nairobi. The move positions her among a growing list of renowned artists injecting a new vibrant energy into the East African art scene.
Mutu’s artistic practice spans various media, including performance, video installation, sculpture and collage.Her aesthetic forms, which are best exemplified by her collages, are at once hybrid, fantastic and abject. She conjures and creates a new world of creatures from the use of photographic media and materials in a unique alchemy of painting and watercolour, articulating various metaphors of the human condition. Issues of gender, race, colonialism and environmental degradation are amongst the ideas she explores with dedicated nuance in her expansive visual world.
There will be two works on view at the 2016 FNB JoburgArtFair. A sculptural work titled Sleeping Serpent II (2016), first exhibited at London’s Victoria Miro Gallery in the exhibition titled “Nguva na Nyoka” (Serpents and Sirens) where her interest exploring and creating contemporary versions of Mythological and imaginary beings is combined with her fascination of the ocean “as a metaphor for human fears and the subconscious”. Mutu says, “it turned into an exploration of mythology – stories from the coastal people in Kenya especially women whose power is extracted from their ability to move fluidly between the land and the ocean.”
On view will also be The End of eating Everything (2013), an allegorical animated short-film Mutu created, in which an insatiable being flying over a post-apocalyptic landscape, consuming everything in its path, leads to a kind of implosive rebirth. Commissioned by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, the work marks a culmination of the critical elements that have made Mutu’s practice so potent to date.
Mutu’s participation at the 2016 FNB JoburgArtFair is made possible by the sponsorship of Keyes Art Mile. Keyes Art Mile is an art-focused spatial development project in the lower Rosebank area on the corner of Keyes and Jellicoe Avenues. Designed to be the first precinct of its kind in Joburg, Keyes Art Mile unfolds from its first iconic architectural site, the TRUMPET which will host a set of handpicked Cape Town-based art galleries including Southern Guild, SMAC Gallery and WHATIFTHEWORLD. These spaces will be complemented by retail areas, cafés and design stores to make create an artful lifestyle mile in Africa’s world class city of the future – Johannesburg.