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Chocolate Nguva

Wangechi Mutu (b. 1972) Chocolate Nguva, 2015 Patinated bronze with marble base 10 × 16 × 14 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by Holly Peterson 2017.23a-b

Wangechi Mutu recontextualizes images from popular culture, myth, and art history to create hybrid figures of Black femininity and power. The nguva, a mythical water woman from East African folklore, is thought to be derived from the dugong, a relative of the manatee and one of the most endangered mammals in East Africa. Here, Mutu monumentalizes the nguva by casting it in bronze to pay homage to the mythic power of this female being while considering the complexities of our relationship to the environment.

Artist in Residence 2003–04