- Lorraine Morales Cox
(b Nairobi, June 22, 1972).
Kenyan draughtsman and collagist, active in the USA. Mutu’s drawings, two-dimensional mixed media collaged images of women and installations explore themes of race, gender, beauty, politics and consumption (see fig.). She completed her primary schooling in Nairobi and her International Baccalaureate in 1991 at the United World College of the Atlantic in South Wales. Mutu then studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of the Arts and Science in New York (BFA, 1996) and Yale University School of Art in New Haven, CT (MFA, 2000).
Mutu has created beautiful yet grotesque collaged images of women, using cutouts taken from such sources as glossy fashion advertisements, pornography magazines and medical illustrations combined with glitter, paint and iridescent pigments. Her process of lifting, cutting and rearranging critiques the ways popular media, racial stereotypes and long-held cultural assumptions have inscribed and idealized the female body. She draws particular attention to feminine ideals of beauty that lead to various forms of body modification. Classic Kenyan folktales, mythologies, and her own immigrant experience equally inform her imagery. The critical nature of her work brings to mind the earlier 20th century work of ...