Collection: Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu
b. 1972, Nairobi, Kenya; lives in New York City
You tried so hard to make us away, 2005, 2005
Ink, acrylic, glitter, fur, contact paper and collage on Mylar
88 x 51-1/4 inches
Collection Pérez Art Museum Miami, museum purchase with funds from the PAMM Collectors Council and the New Work series
(c)2007 Peter Harholdt

This collage by Kenyan-born Wangechi Mutu is from a body of work inspired by the popular hymn Amazing Grace, which was written by the captain of a slave ship who eventually became a minister and abolitionist. The important thing for me about Amazing Grace, says Mutu, is that it is rooted in the mud and injustices of a dark convoluted past and yet it has become the most redemptive and ubiquitous of hymns ever... thanks to colonization, missionaries and the translation of the song into every imaginable language. A key symbol in this work is the mangrove tree, a migratory plant common to much of the earth s tropical shorelines, including those of Florida and Africa. Notable for its ability to thrive in brackish environments where salt and fresh water meet and most plants can t grow, Mutu uses the mangrove as a metaphor for the survival and flourishing of African peoples in the Americas in the wake of the slave trade.

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