The experience makes itself visible in the work that will be on view at the Brooklyn Museum, where Mutu’s mashed-up creatures traverse landscapes she dreamed up during her time as a trapped traveler. “I was struggling with this idea—that perhaps the reason I was in this situation is I turned into something that didn’t belong. I didn’t belong at home, I didn’t belong here. I didn’t exist, or I shouldn’t exist, in that weird way. Like I’d left and grown on my own like these creatures that grow on Madagascar that are such anomalies.” Like the powerful hybrids that populate her work. “I think there is something about countries and nations that is hard to define,” Mutu continues. “And in fact, that’s probably why we create such massive boundaries—because it’s so slippery where they begin and where they end.” Globalism means those distinctions grow murkier every year, and “these conservative demarcations of nation and state and culture are soon going to be archaic. We have to redefine what we mean when we say ‘Who are your people?’ ‘Where are you from?’ ”
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Wangechi Mutu: A Fantastic Journey
Brooklyn Museum of Art.
Opens October 11.