The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (the “Museums”) are thrilled to announce Wangechi Mutu: I Am Speaking, Are You Listening?, a sprawling, site-specific exhibition of new and recently created sculpture, collage, and film by visionary Kenyan American artist Wangechi Mutu. Staked out from the Court of Honor through the entire first floor of the museum, the artist’s alternate universe of powerful female characters, hybrid beings, and fantastical landscapes, challenges traditional art histories, mythologies, and conventional techniques of archiving and remembering. Part of the Museums’ contemporary art program and three years in the making, I Am Speaking, Are You Listening? responds to the permanent collection and neoclassical architecture of the Legion of Honor; a museum built for the presentation of European art history, and presided over by Auguste Rodin’s The Thinker.
“Wangechi Mutu’s powerful voice, urging us to reassess colonial legacies and societal power structures, will ring out loud to Bay Area audiences at the Legion of Honor“ states Thomas P. Campbell, Director and CEO of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco “This important new installation in the Fine Arts Museums’ contemporary art program will remind us of the potential of art to challenge outdated narratives and uncover underlying truths.”
With roots in Kenya and the United States, Mutu moves voraciously between cultural traditions to challenge colonialist, racist, and sexist worldviews through her work. At the Legion of Honor, the artist will introduce a group of works that merge the histories, conventions, and traditions of her Western formation with those of her East African origins. Alongside five bronzes, she will also present sculptures made of soil, trees, ash, animals, and gems indigenous to the Kenyan landscape and reflective of techniques used in the making of traditional African sculpture, ornaments, battle shields, and protective talismans.
Artist: Wangechi Mutu