Art of This World: “Wangechi Mutu -The Catatonic Bliss of Violent Incidences”
…There is always a sort of underlying violence embedded in each of the pieces she creates. Affirmative fears, archetypal dogmas and the stigmata of war are all woven into one highly elaborate composition. The results are overpowering metaphors that often puts the viewer in a state of catatonic bliss, halfway between sheer avoidance and not being able to confront the subject directly.
Mutu‘s art is a constant stimulus on how children of the diaspora are able to successfully merge parts of their African roots with elements of Western culture. The confrontation between African identity and predominance of Western culture remains a central point in Mutu’s work. Often the ghosts of Josephine Baker or Eartha Kitt (two of her favoured muses) come to haunt her. She is also intrigued by modern icons the likes of Grace Jones. These women were all forced to reinvent themselves as new hybrid “alien” creatures largely based on Western stereotypes; however, they were able to turn their caricatural characters into powerful maces of protest against the myth of white supremacy.
“Camouflage and mutation are 2 important themes in my work, but the idea I’m most enamoured with is the notion that transformation can help us to transcend our predicament. We all wear costumes when we set out for battle. The language of body alteration is a powerful inspiration. I think part of my interest in this comes from being an immigrant but I’ve also always been interested in how people perform and maneuver among one another.”
Although European and Western development are still perceived as the pinnacle of civilization, history has clearly uncovered their failure to address the obvious atrocities…
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