If we live through it, She'll carry us back

Wangechi Mutu

Mutu’s stunning collage If we live through it, She’ll carry us back typifies her artistic practice. Known to create large-scale collage works that subvert preconceptions of the female form, this narrative work subverts traditional representations of migration and movement, themes predominantly depicting Western colonization as exploration. If we live through it… is part of Mutu’s Nguva na Nyoto (Sirens and Serpents) series, referencing a mythic imaginary world in which “she,” hybrid warrior-women, are the protagonists. “The black female body has been violated and revered in very specific ways by the outsider–Europeans, especially. The issues that pertain to race are: pathologizing the black mind, exoticizing and fearing of the black body, objectifying the body as a specimen, or a sexual machine, or a work animal, or relating the black body to non-human species as a way to justify cruelty… all these are practices that are placed excessively upon the black female body,” says Mutu in a 2014 article with Deborah Willis for Bomb Magazine. This perhaps epitomizes the protagonist’s mutilated form in If we live through it, She’ll carry us back, a visual reflection of bodily trauma and healing. Mutu & Willis: https://bombmagazine.org/articles/wangechi-mutu/
Date of Birth
(b. 1972)
Paint, paper, lace, wood, beads, and collage on vinyl
60 x 72 in. (152.4 x 182.88 cm.)
Accession #
Credit Line
Museum Purchase

More by