Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-American, New York–based artist who works in print, film, sculpture and painting. Her practice explores globalization, overconsumption, environmentalism and femininity.
Through her expansive body of work, she has built an ecosystem of mythical creatures and surreal landscapes inspired in part by legends from both Western and Eastern cultural pantheons. The union of these sources results in a thoughtful curiosity surrounding the interrelation of seemingly opposing ideas.
The dichotomy around beauty/ugliness, West/East, religious/secular are ultimately not useful paradigms for Mutu. Her work encourages the viewer to examine the relationship between seemingly contradictory ideas and to think more broadly.
The 2020 video Wangechi Mutu: My Cave Call is a parable on wisdom seeking. Set at Mount Suswa, a holy site in Kenya, the film centers on histories that have been lost and the beginning process of reclamation.
A meditation on reconnection, the film recounts moments from recent and distant Kenyan history. Narrated by the off-screen voice of a young child, it presents moments of frustration but also of hope, leaving space for a renewal of wisdom that has been lost.
Additionally, Wangechi Mutu: My Cave Call weaves in spirituality, questioning in what ways humans have become disconnected from their roots with the earth.
The film’s setting – first in a field and then in a cave under Mount Suswa – creates a surreal journey.