Wangechi Mutu, This You Call Civilization?
(via Africa is a Country)
“Either the super-traditional African woman with the big earrings or scarification…or this other woman which kind of is a pin-up, a very vile erotic sexualized pinup. These two objectifications are placed together and there’s this kind of dialogue going on between them … They’re very interesting to look at but ultimately I remove the most titillating parts. The central part of the shot is removed and what you have is this synergy between the two. And I think it’s a fantastic kind of harmony that happens and it makes people reflect on both things without replicating the objectification of either one of them.”
This is so refreshing. Her work is skilled, stomach-churning, beautiful and stomping. It’s not just rebuking conventions of aesthetics and ethnography in the publications that she uses (i.e. National Geographic, Vogue, porn) but it forces the imagination. Mutu is gesturing towards an existence free of biological determinism and psychological conditioning, and that is [rightfully] terrifying & gorgeous.