Exhibitions: Global Feminisms

Ingrid Mwangi: Static Drift

Ingrid Mwangi (Kenyan, b. 1975). Static Drift, 2001. Two chromogenic prints mounted on aluminum, edition of 5. Heather and Tony Podesta Collection, Falls Church, Virginia. (Photo: Courtesy of Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris)

In the photographic series Static Drift, Ingrid Mwangi experiments with her own body, likening it to an open book upon which her own national and racial lineage is both written and read. Here the artist transposes the borderlines of Germany and Africa onto her stomach by way of a stencil and exposure to the sun. National titles and geographic borders are displaced from their habitual contexts, causing one to contemplate what nationalism, skin color, and ethnic identity mean when physically inscribed on a body—particularly a female body. Within the dichotomy of Mwangi's personal biography (she was born in Nairobi and has lived in Germany for many years), the historical relationship between Germany and Africa, colonizer and colonized, oppressor and the oppressed, is also powerfully evoked.