Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga is a Kenyan sculptor and visual artist known for her modern metal (mabati) pieces. Her work combines the traditions of African craftsmanship, classical art history, and contemporary approaches to experimentation. She is guided by a passion for telling visual stories that reflect the authentic past, acknowledge the current situation, and speculate on the journey ahead. Her artistic practice commemorates experiences lived outside the Western canon and worldview, and she is determined to maintain a place for African women in contemporary society.
Wanjiku has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Nairobi, Kenya and a Master of Arts degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. In addition to her numerous national and international accolades, Wanjiku is recipient of the 2021 Royal Academy of Arts’ London Charles Wollaston Award. Her work has been featured in major exhibitions at the Museu Afro Brasil, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Frieze New York, USA, International Triennial of Tapestry, Poland, and 1:54 London Contemporary African Art Fair, London among others. Her work is included in the permanent collections of San Antonio Museum of Art, USA, National Museums of Scotland, Museum of Textile, Latvia, Vehbi Koç Foundation Contemporary Art Museum, Turkey, US Embassy, Nairobi, Kenya, Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center, San Antonio, USA, and the World Bank, Ghana.
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