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A New Monograph Follows the Evolution of Wangechi Mutu’s Mythologizing Practice — Colossal


#Wangechi Mutu

January 24, 2023

Grace Ebert

“Water Woman” (2017), bronze, 91 x 165 x 178 centimeters. All images © Wangechi Mutu, courtesy of Phaidon, shared with permission

A new monograph published by Phaidon delves into the multi-faceted work of Kenyan-American artist Wangechi Mutu (previously). The first of its kind, the volume packs hundreds of artworks, glimpses into Mutu’s Nairobi studio, and her own writings within its 160 pages. Known for mythologizing, the artist often incorporates found, organic materials like soil, feathers, bone, and ephemera into her collages and sculptures. The works broadly explore gender, sexuality, politics, and the natural world through expressive, hybrid figures imbued with otherworldly lore.

To coincide with the book’s release, Phaidon has a limited-edition print available featuring Mutu’s dreamlike “WaterSpirit washed Pelican.” Explore an archive of her works on Instagram.


A photo of a woman-mermaid sculpture in trees

“Water Woman” (2017), bronze, 91 x 165 x 178 centimeters. Installation view at The Contemporary Austin – Laguna Gloria, 2017

A photo of an open book spread

A collaged work of two figures

“You Are My Sunshine” (2015), collage painting on paper, 61 x 91 centimeters

A photo of an open book spread

A photo of a woman-creature sculpture

“Mamaray” (2020), bronze, 165 x 366 x 488 centimeters

A photo of three figurative sculptures with colorful hair

From left: “Mirror Faced I” (2020), soil, charcoal, paper pulp, wood glue, emulsion paint, gourd, brass beads, mirror, teak base, hair, wrought iron stand, 174 x 37 x 34 centimeters, bust 58 x 28 x 31 centimeters; “Mirror Faced II” (2020), soil, charcoal, paper pulp, wood…


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