Kenyan artist’s work goes on display at Wakefield gallery

The Hepworth Wakefield
The Hepworth Wakefield. ©Hutton Crow

The work of a Kenyan born artist has gone on display at the Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield.

Bringing together more than 50 works by Magdalene Odundo, one of the world’s most esteemed artists working in ceramics, this new show including a vessel made in 1978 from Wakefield’s art collection, which was the first of her works to be purchased by a public institution.

These will be shown alongside a large selection of objects chosen by the artist from across the globe and spanning 3,000 years, to reveal the rich and diverse range of making traditions that have informed the development of her own work.

Magdalene Odundo
Magdalene Odundo, Untitled, 1989. © Magdalene Odundo. Private collection, courtesy Anthony Slayter-Ralph. Photo: Bill Dewey

Magdalene was born in Kenya in 1950. She attended the Nairobi Polytechnic in Kenya to study Graphics and Commercial Art before moving to England in 1971 to follow her chosen vocation in Graphic Design, completing her qualifications in foundation art and graphics at the Cambridge College of Art.

After choosing ceramics as her preferred medium, she travelled to Kenya, Uganda and Nigeria to study their ceramic traditions and subsequent travels across Europe, Africa, Asia and Central America have continued to inspire her art.

Internationally acclaimed architect Farshid Moussavi OBE has designed the exhibition which places Magdalene’s work at the heart of a constellation of objects that she has drawn inspiration from including British studio pottery by Hans Coper and Lucy Rie, ancient vessels from Greece and Egypt, historic ceramics from Africa, Asia and Central America and Elizabethan costume and textiles.

Magdalene Odundo said: ‘I am excited and looking forward to enabling visitors to experience my work within the context of the very many cultures, histories and works of art that I have had the privilege of studying and taken inspiration from over the last 40 years.”

Magdalene Odundo: The Journey of Things at the The Hepworth Wakefield runs until June 2.

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