Hide 'n' Seek, Kill or Speak

Wangechi Mutu (b. 1972) Hide 'n' Seek, Kill or Speak, 2004 Paint, ink, collage, mixed media on Mylar 48 × 42 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase made possible by a gift from Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn 2004.13.3

Here, the figure’s sensuous, ink-splattered skin translates as alternately twinkling stars or blooming sores. Dynamic and disjointed, she is constructed from cut-outs sourced from pornography, fashion, car, and motorcycle magazines as well as ethnographic periodicals such as National Geographic. Wangechi Mutu ruptures the mainstream standards of beauty that these publications present to be fetishized and adored. Instead, she offers unresolved, dismembered bodies that rebel against stereotypical images of African women and those of the Global South.

Artist in Residence 2003–2004