Kenyan-born artist Wangechi Mutu is one of the brightest stars of African contemporary art, amassing a net worth of Ksh735 million according to Allfamous and SAinformant report.
This solidifies her status as one of the highest-earning Kenyan artists.
Her journey in the art world began as a canvas painter before she transitioned into sculpture, with her artwork selling for as much as Ksh8.3 million per piece and a minimum sale price of Ksh7.3 million.
Today, Wangechi runs two art studios, one based in Nairobi and another in Brooklyn, with an additional outlet store in South Africa.
Photo of Wangechi Mutu Next to her Art
Wangechi Mutu was born in Nairobi on June 22, 1972, and spent her early childhood in a Catholic school outside the city.
During this period, she sparked and honed her talent, boosted by her access to art supplies from her father’s paper import business.
Eighteen years down the line, she flew out of the country to further her studies and pursue her artistic career. Her initial destination was the United Kingdom, where she enrolled in a boarding school in Wales.
However, she moved to New York in the United States, New York, where part of her roots can be traced to.
Wangechi then spent the next year at Parsons School of Design before realising she could not afford her tuition.
She later enrolled at Cooper Union in 1996, a private tuition-free college, but later got her master’s degree from the Yale School of Art in 2000 before fully venturing into art.
The artist gained recognition and a lot of money in the West from her art sales as she shifted gears into painting, performance, visual artistry, film, and sculpture.
She, however, moved back to Kenya permanently after staying abroad for over two decades but set up a studio in Brooklyn in 2015 before her relocation.
Four years after returning to Kenya, Wangechi was contracted by the New York Metropolitan Museum, which saw a series of her sculptures grace the museum for its facade.
Most of the art that was taken to the space was a reimagination and combination of both African and European art being treated on an equal level, boasting over three decades of workpieces she has ever done.
Her art was displayed in the three main gallery floors, as some extended to the lobby gallery as well as the seventh floor of the museum. About half of the museum view was a never-before-seen art in the gallery.
“Kenya-born artist Wangechi Mutu has turned the New Museum into a magical matriarchy. Or something close. It has become an enveloping, shadowy place shot through with flaming colour, incalculable beauty, but also disease and violence.” read a post from the New York Times just after the commissioning.
Apart from the New York Metropolitan Museum, Wangechi has had her work exhibited in the San Francisco Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Meususem of Contemporary Art Chicago, Tate Modern, the Center Pompidou together with many other major institutions of modern and contemporary art.
Photo of a Sculpture by Wangechi Mutu