Long before I met Naomi, I followed her work because she has an uncanny ability to meld the unforgiving hardness of metal with the lyrical softness of thread.
Naomi’s work using weathered sheet metal and crocheted wire thread are autobiographical in the sense that they reflect all of Naomi’s personal history. She grew up in a rural Kenyan village where the rusted sheet metal roofs were made women’s collectives trying to collect water.
Much of her childhood was spent with her grandmother, a traditional basketmaker. Her African and fiber art roots are always in evidence. In addition to her powerful, abstract sculptures, Naomi’s work reverberates with imagery referring to quilts, baskets and the flowing skirts of dancers.
At a time when the threats to climate and water are part of our global dialogue, Naomi’s work addresses both, especially the profound impact of water on women’s lives.
We met at an opening where both of us had artwork in Flight Patterns, an exhibition curated by Dorothy Moye, on view for a year at the Atlanta International Airport followed by an exhibition at Georgia State University. Her growing international recognition and her enthusiasm for my work fill me with courage and possibility.
Additional Resources about Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga
https://youtu.be/AkX1llLHuUg recent video from her show in London