Urgent Museum Notice

Ingrid Mwangi (Mwangi Hutter)

A medium-dark-skinned adult woman with short dark curly hair, wearing a white crochet top, stands with hands clasped in front of her. On the wall behind her are two large color photographs of medium-skinned adult women.

Ingrid Mwangi in front of her Total Art installation, 2014; Photograph by Laura Hoffman, NMWA

Born in 1975

The daughter of a Kenyan father and a German mother, Mwangi has lived in Africa and Europe. She is fascinated by Western culture’s desire to assign people a specific race or nationality.

As an artist-performer, Mwangi often alters her body or images of it to question, and ultimately dispel, clichés and stereotypes. She explains, “In order to do so I have created an artistic strategy that consists in adopting the role of the other. I am a wounded being, a caged beast, the exotic creature, the naked queen.”

Mwangi seeks as well to “awaken consciences” through her art, often alluding to issues related to colonialism and the African Diaspora.

In 2005, after working together for several years, Mwangi and husband Robert Hutter conjoined to become one artistic identity known as Mwangi Hutter, a double-bodied single artist. Merging their names and biographies, they consider all new and old artwork as part of their collective.

Artist Details

Works by Ingrid Mwangi (Mwangi Hutter)

Shades of Skin

These four stills from Ingrid Mwangi’s video Shades of Skin explore what it means to be a global citizen.

Mwangi’s art centers on what she calls her “hyphenated” identity—she was born in Kenya but has lived in Germany since she was a teenager. By altering her body or images of it, Mwangi challenges narrow ideas about race and also evokes the histories...

Four photographs, read horizontally from left to right, portray close-ups details of the artist’s body: her face, obscured by hands in prayer; a scarred back; hands pressed into upper thighs, and toes suspended over soil. With each picture, her skin appears increasingly dark.