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Ingrid Mwangi

Born, 1975 in Kenya

From the back cover of Ingrid Mwangi | Your Own Soul, published by German art publisher Kehrer Verlag, in 2003: “Ingrid Mwangi is an artist of biracial heritage, whose videos, installations, performances and photoworks incessantly explore her blackness. Having spent the first fifteen years of her life in Kenya where she was born, she moved to Germany where she still lives and works.

Her dual belonging is not only a symbolic matter for her. It is physical. It runs through her veins and is inscribed in her body. That richness, derived from the concurrence of here and there, has generated in her a fragility of sorts, a prism through which she attempts to view herself and the world.” Simon Njami

Various stipends and prizes… as well as the participation in numerous group shows and solo exhibitions in Europe and America confirm Ingrid Mwangi’s artistic concepts and choice of explosive topics.”

This artist’s monograph covers her recent practice, up to the point of Ingrid Mwangi | Your Own Soul (2003). Mwangi’s work in large part centers on issues relating to her identity, her history, her background and her hair and body. Witness for example her text accompanying her installation about her hair:

My hair

Do I own my hair?
Is it curly?
Does it wrap itself around my head?
Do I bathe it in chemicals?
Touch colour to it? Red
Do I bleach it like they did / I do my soul?

Is it straight?
Do I comb it with a hot thing?
Did I burn my scalp trying to get it to wrap itself?
A hot thing.

Do I wear it in dreads?
Does it tell a message every time I turn my head?
Does it grow like roots, long and hard?
Does it get heavy to bear?
Will I carry it long?
Will it carry me on?

Do I own it?
My hair.

Ingrid Mwangi, working with husband and fellow artist Robert Hutter as IngridMwangiRobertHutter Collective contributed work to the major exhibition Black Womanhood: Images, Icons, and Ideologies of the African Body, which was curated by Barbara Thompson, curator of African, Oceanic, and Native American Collections at the Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College. The exhibition was originated by Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire and exhibited there April 1 - August 10, 2008 before touring to venues in Wellesley, Massachusetts and San Diego, California. IngridMwangiRobertHutter Collective’s work was reproduced in the substantial catalogue accompanying the exhibition. 

The exhibition also featured contributions by the following artists: Maria Magdalena Campos-Pons, Renée Cox, Angéle Etoundi Essamba, Lalla Assia Essaydi, Emile Guebehi, Senzeni Marasela, Nandipha Mntambo, Zanele Muholi, Hassan Musa, Wangechi Mutu, Magdalene Odundo, Etiyé Dimma Poulsen, Alison Saar, Joyce J. Scott, Berni Searle, Fazal Sheikh, Malick Sidibé, Penny Siopsis, Maud Sulter, Sokari Douglas Camp, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems, and Carla Williams.

Related items

click to show details of Ingrid Mwangi | Your Own Soul

»  Ingrid Mwangi | Your Own Soul

Catalogue relating to an individual, 2003

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College

Wellesley, Massachusetts, United States of America

»  Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College

Hanover, New Hampshire, United States of America

»  San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego, California, United States of America