Works by Mixed-Media Artist Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga Now on View at 108 Contemporary in Downtown Tulsa
On this edition of ST, we offer an interesting discussion with the mixed-media artist Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga, who studied art at the University of Nairobi in Kenya and then at UCLA and now lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. As is noted of this artist at her personal website: "[Gakunga's] works are predominantly wall-hanging sculptures created from tin cans, steel wire, and oxidized sheet metal forms. Using these nontraditional materials, her work adheres to the concept of Jua Kali, a Swahili expression meaning under the hot sun, that refers to the idea of chance effects created out of things which have been discarded.... Her use of galvanized sheet metal, known in Swahili as Mabati, is ubiquitous in Kenya. Used mainly for roofing materials and walls, this sheet metal is particularly associated with the Mabat Women's Group of the 1960s. [Gakunga] observed the success of their efforts, the harvesting of water from the new roofs and the consequent ageing of the material itself. She mirrors these weathering effects in her own artistic process that oxidizes the submerged surfaces, occasionally adding dye to create different colors and more complex effects." There's a striking exhibition of Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga's now on view at the 101 Contemporary gallery in downtown Tulsa; the show is called "Cat's Cradle," and it runs through June 29th. You can view several images from this exhibit, which Gakunga discusses with us on our program today, at this link.