Wangari Mathenge (Kenyan, b. 1973) is a visual artist who lives and works in Sacramento, California. In 2019 she joined the MFA Painting and Drawing Program at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. Her work confronts issues regarding the visibility of the black female in the context of both the traditional African patriarchal society and the Diaspora. Her portraits and figurative paintings are realized through bold gestural strokes and mark making at times within structured compositions which derive from images of herself and those of friends and acquaintances. Her works are held in private collections in Europe, Africa and North America.
Juxtaposing modern and contemporary references, Kenyan native Wangari Mathenge’s work is dedicated to the investigation and incorporation of an integrated visual testimony of the oft-discounted black female experience within the context of both traditional African society and the Diaspora. Shifting the dialogue around painting and identity, Mathenge’s portraits highlight these silent exchanges and hierarchal dynamics. Often depicting people with whom she has significant relationships, her paintings are realized through structured compositions emboldened with gestural strokes and mark making