City of Light Discovering the Metaverse
Discovering the Metaverse

Artist Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?

Installation view of “I am Speaking, Are you Listening” at the Legion of Honor Museum(map), San Francisco, 2021

Over the past two decades, Wangechi Mutu has created chimerical constellations of powerful female characters, hybrid beings, and fantastical landscapes. With a rare understanding of the power and need for new mythologies—the productive friction of opposites beyond simple binaries and stereotypes—Mutu breaches common distinctions among human, animal, plant, and machine. At once seductive and threatening, her figures and environments take the viewer on journeys of material, psychological, and sociopolitical transformation. An artist who calls both Nairobi and New York home, she moves voraciously between cultural traditions to challenge colonialist, racist, and sexist worldviews with her visionary projection of an alternate universe informed by Afrofuturism, post-humanism, and feminism. Mutu’s sprawling exhibition at the Legion of Honor, a museum built for the showcase of European art from antiquity through Impressionism presided over by Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker, aims to spur “a purposeful examination of art histories, mythologies, and the techniques of archiving and remembering.”

Wangechi Mutu was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and currently lives and works between Brooklyn, New York and Nairobi. She received her MFA from Yale University. In 2019, she inaugurated The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Facade Commission, with an exhibition entitled “The NewOnes, will free Us.” Her work has been the subject of numerous solo shows, including, “Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey”, which traveled to: Brooklyn Museum, New York; Nasher Museum of Art, Durham, North Carolina; Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami; and Block Museum, Evanston, Illinois. Other solo exhibitions include: Institute of Contemporary Art Boston; The Contemporary Austin, Texas; SITE, Santa Fe; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin; Wiels Center for Contemporary Art, Brussels; Art Gallery of Ontario; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; Kunsthalle Wien; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Mutu is the recipient of Deutsche Bank’s “Artist of the Year” award, the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Award, and the American Federation of Arts’ Leadership Award. Later this year, MamaRay will travel to the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, where it was commissioned for the collection. In October 2021, Mutu will be included in Prospect New Orleans’ fifth edition, “Yesterday we said tomorrow.”

#1 Wangechi Mutu, Shavasana I, 2019 and Shavasana II, 2019, Mama Ray, 2020, Crocodylus, 2020
#2 Wangechi Mutu, Shavasana I, Shavasana II, 2019 Two female figures, “Shavasana I” and “Shavasana II” (the corpse pose in yoga), lie prone on their backs at the “Thinker’s” feet and are covered with bronze mats, their arms and legs splayed at angles resembling the Crucifixion.
#3 Wangechi Mutu, Shavasana II, 2019
#4 Wangechi Mutu, Shavasana I, 2019
#5 Wangechi Mutu, Mama Ray, 2020 “Mama Ray” is part sea creature, part war shield, part female alien. 
#6 Wangechi Mutu, Mama Ray, 2020
#7 Wangechi Mutu, Crocodylus, 2020 An alien atop a giant crocodile of East African mythology, her back ridged and fused to the beast’s, is called “Crocodylus.”
#8 Wangechi Mutu, Crocodylus, 2020
#9 The Legion of Honor, San Francisco


1. Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Can You Hear Me? | Legion of Honor (

2. The Mythical Power of Wangechi Mutu | Sotheby’s Magazine | Sotheby’s (