BORDER CROSSINGS: What emerges in your work is that collage is a natural way of recognizing how you view the world. If the world is a broken place, then is collage a way of demonstrating that brokenness or a way of putting it together again?
WANGECHI MUTU: It’s both. Because in the end, the image has a beauty to it. It’s not something I’m afraid to address and I’m not trying to dissuade conversation. I’m optimistic and I believe we grow and will learn to heal. I guess I’m in this in-between situation, culturally, economically and socially, where I’m not ignorant about how these things relate to one another and the bridges between them.
I love collage because I studied sculpture and I’m fascinated by material. The kinds of things I choose in the collage have a very particular resonance for me. So if I pick up a National Geographic or Motorbike magazine, it’s about what it stands for and who reads it and why. What is its purpose and how are women’s bodies used in there?As a woman of colour, how I’m represented in these publications is of absolute relevance and importance to me because it tells me where I stand in that particular culture. So, in that way, collage tells us not just what cultures have produced but what they’ve fostered.