For all of the art appreciators on the planet, the long awaited Venice Biennale is hear again. But what makes the 56th celebration so amazing is that Nigeran-born Okwui Enwezor was appointed to curate this years edition making him the fist African American director and curator of the event. ‘All The World’s Futures’ is the theme and it includes over 100 artists and projects from several countries throughout Africa such as Nigeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Senegal, Cameroon, and Kenya where the amazing artist Wangechi Mutu was born. I guess it is no secret that I am a die hard sci-fi fan, spanning across a wide variety of realms including film, literature, music, fashion, philosophy, and art. So one might imagine how happy I was to find out that one of the most recent Afrofuturist artists was going to be at the 2015 Venice Biennale. First off, I am happy this genre is being put on such a large and international platform as the Biennale because it combines elements of sci-fi and Afrocentricity as a means of reflecting and commenting on present day issues of people of color as well as re-examining past historical events. Artists such as Octavia Butler, painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, photographer Renée Cox, and jazz musician Sun Ra are some of the front runners of the style, and also definitely some of my favorites.
Mutu’s art is considered Afrofuturist because she often approaches her themes with a sci-fi like blueprint to contemplate alternate realities for Africa and people of African descent. She specifically depicts this with her morphing of the organic (human) and inorganic (machine) via collage on huge pieces of mylar. You can see this depicted strongly in her series Family Tree.
The female form is often if not always central in her work. Her figurative pieces combine technology and organic ‘parts’ (human and animal) from tears found in porn, fashion, and auto magazines, along with random and non random materials.
“Females carry the marks, language and nuances of their culture more than the male. Anything that is desired or despised is always placed on the female body.”
For all of the fellow fans of musician Santigold, you may remember seeing this strange and other worldly animation, ‘The End of Eating Everything’ a collaboration from Mutu and the singer, check out a clip here!