Among Forbes’ 2013 list of powerful African women who are “changing the game” is Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu. Much of her work as an artist is underscored by her disdain for the media’s tendency to objectify and sexualize women, and perhaps, conversely, for the subjects who allow it. Known for her signature watercolor collages that depict themes of feminism and racial objectification of Black women’s bodies through provocative images of violence, surrealism and seduction, Mutu has been a rising star in the art world – both here and abroad – for more than a decade.
And still she rises.
A resident of Brooklyn, Mutu is the author of several books including Wangechi Mutu: My Dirty Little Heaven; Wangechi Mutu: A Shady Promise; Wangechi Mutu: This You Call Civilization; Wangechi Mutu: In Whose Image; and Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey. This year, she contributed an essay to the book Earth Matters, a compilation of stories about the arts of Africa written by Karen E. Milbourne and sponsored by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art. The essay, “The Power of Earth in My Work”, is a 4-page historical testament to her connection to Kenya, descriptions of the “crop cultivators” and “landowners” who raised her, and the ancestral ties that bind.
In 2010, Mutu was named “Artist of the Year” by Deutsche Bank.
Other women who made Forbes’ list include Amini Kajunju (The Africa-America Institute), Monica Musondo (Java Foods) and Ola Orekunrin (The Flying Doctors). According to the article, the list represents women who “are eager to build industries, reform societies, save lives, rewrite history, and transform the continent.”
Read more at Forbes.