Kukumbuka–To Remember, 2013–16. Sheet metal and stainless steel wire, 264 x 203 x 38 cm.

Unity and Variety: A Conversation with Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga

Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga makes forms with layered contexts and material processes that are very much rooted in her experiences growing up in rural Kenya and the Rift Valley. Her works partly pay tribute to local craft tradition, demonstrating how the local can indeed teach the national and international. The necessity of navigating intense political conflict also contributes an important contextual background. Putting all this together, her abstract steel panels, many based in Kenyan landscapes, produce richly detailed visual experiences.
After leaving Kenya, Gakunga studied for a master’s in Los Angeles and relocated to San Antonio, Texas, absorbing those influences as well. Over the past decade, she has exhibited across the United States and Europe, including 2017 solo exhibitions at the October Gallery in London and Bihl Haus Arts in San Antonio; she has also participated in Frieze New York, the Art Paris Art Fair, and the Cape Town Art Fair. …see the entire article in the print version of April’s Sculpture magazine.