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Wangechi Mutu: My Cave Call

St Louis Art Museum 

January 12March 31, 2024

St Louis Art Museum

This image illustrates a link to the exhibition titled Wangechi Mutu <br><i>My Cave Call</i>

Wangechi Mutu is a Kenyan-American, New York–based artist who works in print, film, sculpture, and painting. Her practice explores globalization, overconsumption, environmentalism, and femininity. Through her expansive body of work, she has built an ecosystem of mythical creatures and surreal landscapes inspired in part by legends from both Western and Eastern cultural pantheons. The union of these sources results in a thoughtful curiosity surrounding the interrelation of seemingly opposing ideas. The dichotomy around beauty/ugliness, West/East, religious/secular are ultimately not useful paradigms for Mutu. Her work encourages the viewer to examine the relationship between seemingly contradictory ideas and to think more broadly.

The 2020 video Wangechi Mutu: My Cave Call is a parable on wisdom seeking. Set at Mount Suswa, a holy site in Kenya, the film centers histories that have been lost and the beginning process of reclamation. A meditation on reconnection, the film recounts moments from recent and distant Kenyan history. Narrated by the off-screen voice of a young child, it presents moments of frustration but also of hope, leaving space for a renewal of wisdom that has been lost. Additionally, My Cave Call weaves in spirituality, questioning in what ways humans have become disconnected from their roots with the earth. The film’s setting—first in a field and then in a cave (under Mount Suswa)—creates a surreal journey. This film was part of a larger exhibition of Wangechi Mutu’s work at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco.

My Cave Call is curated by Charlie Farrell, the 2022–2024 Romare Bearden Graduate Museum Fellow, and Simon Kelly, the curator of modern and contemporary art.

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