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Founded in 1979, October Gallery, in central London, exhibits innovative, contemporary art from around the world. For over 35 years, October Gallery has pioneered the development of the Transvangarde - the trans-cultural avant-garde.

ARTISTS

Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga

Born in 1960, Naomi Wanjiku Gakunga grew up among the Kikuyu people of Kenya. She first    studied art at the University of Nairobi, Kenya before continuing her studies at UCLA, USA. She now lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. Gakunga has displayed works in numerous exhibitions in the USA, France, Brazil and Poland.

Her works are predominantly wall-hanging sculptures ingeniously created from tin cans, steel wire and oxidised sheet metal. Galvanised sheet metal, known in Swahili as mabati, is used mainly for roofing materials and walls. The material is particularly associated with the Mabati Womens Group and their empowering community housing projects of the ‘60s. Gakunga observed the success of their efforts, the harvesting of water from the new roofs and the consequent ageing of the material itself. Mirroring these weathering effects in her own artistic process, she deliberately saturates rolls of sheet metal in water, a process that oxidises the submerged surfaces, occasionally adding dyes to create different colours and other more complex effects. The delicate transformations etched in metal by the corrosive effects of water, chance and time, emphasise an ethereal, transient beauty. Another significant material found in these works is fibre or string.Gakunga continues to use string and ribbons as primary materials within her work, acknowledging the contemporary in her usage of fine grade metal wires.


Exhibitions

Ituika–Transformation
Tushauriane – Let’s Talk About It

Shwari na Pepo - Calm Before Storm

Teremko - The Descent

Tuwawili - Two of us

Bridges Not Walls

Routes of Migration

Mizigo - Burdens

Macakaya - Lamentations

Tushauriane – Let’s Talk About It

Redefining Boundaries

Afternoon - Alasiri

Evening - Jioni

Manyunyu - Drizzle

Ndumo - The Girls’ Danc


Encino

Magetha ma Mwere
- The Small Harvest

Gakunga Magetha ma njahi
- The Big Harvest

Wetereire - Waiting

Matigari - Remnants

Miarahũko - Almost Morning

Ithũῖro – Dusk

Nusu mbili - Two Halves

Together They Marched

Mũgogo - The Crossing

Adhuhuri - Midday

Kiambiriria - Genesis

Macheo - Early Morning

Tears from Above

Machweo - Late Evening

Nest

Rainy Season

First Fruits
 
Education
1992   MA Design, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
1985  BA Design, University of Nairobi, Kenya
Selected Solo Shows
2017   Tushauriane – Let’s Talk About It, October Gallery, London, UK
Tafsiri (Interpretations), Bihl Haus Arts, San Antonio, Texas, USA
2014   Cat’s Cradle, 108 | Contemporary, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA
2013   Ituĩka- Transformation, October Gallery, London, UK
A Tradition of Strings, Southwest School of Art, San Antonio, Texas, USA
2010   The Art of Transformation, University of Texas, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Selected Group Shows
2017   Frieze New York, New York, USA, with October Gallery, London, UK
Art Paris Art Fair, Paris, France, with October Gallery, London, UK
Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa, with October Gallery,
London, UK
2016   AKAA: Also Known as Africa, Contemporary art and design fair, Paris, France, with October Gallery, London, UK
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK, with October Gallery, London, UK
African Convergences, Northwest Vista College, Texas, USA
Of Lace and Steel, Dock Space Gallery, Texas, USA
2015   Africa Africans, Museu Afro Brasil, São Paulo, Brazil
Flight Patterns, Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design Galleries, Georgia State University, Georgia, USA
Art15, London, UK, with October Gallery, London, UK
5th Riga International Textile and Fibre Triennial: Tradition and Innovation, Latvia National Museum of Art (LNMA), Riga, Latvia
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK, with October Gallery, London, UK
2014   Platt Gallery, American Jewish University, Los Angeles, California, USA
Flight Patterns, Concourse T North, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Interwoven Histories, October Gallery, London, UK
1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, UK, with October Gallery, London, UK
Art14, London, UK, with October Gallery, London, UK
2013   14th International Triennial of Tapestry, Central Museum of Textiles,
Lodz, Poland
Contemporâneo: International Exhibition of Textile Art, Patchwork Design, Clube Monte Líbano,Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Contemporâneo: International Exhibition of Textile Art, Patchwork Design,
São Paulo, Brazil
2012   Women, Peace and Security Quilt Challenge, United Nations Visitor’s Centre, New York, USA
11th Quilt Nihon Exhibition, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, Tokyo; JR Nagoya Takashimaya Nakamura-key, Nagoya-City, Aichi, Japan
The 18th European Patchwork Meeting, Sainte-Marie-aux-Mines, France
Fiber Art 2012, New Braunfels Art League Gallery, New Braunfels, Texas, USA
2011   Women, Peace and Security Quilt Challenge, Palais des Nations,
Geneva, Switzerland
Confluence - Surface Design Show, The Katherine E. Nash Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Softer Side of Things, Kerr Arts & Cultural Center, Kerrville, Texas, USA
Fiber Artists of San Antonio, Annual Show, Gallery Nord, San Antonio,
Texas, USA
2010   4th Riga International Textile and Fibre Art Triennial: Tradition and Innovation, Global Intrigue II, Museum of Decorative Arts and Design,
Riga, Latvia
Texas Oklahoma Art Prize, Wichita Falls Museum of Art at Midwestern State University, Wichita Texas, USA
Fiber: TwentyTen, Foundry Art Centre, St Charles, Missouri, USA
The Artful Table, Craft Alliance Centre of Art and Design, St Louis,
Missouri, USA
Inside Out/Fiber Art for the Human Form, Textile Centre, Joan Mondale
Gallery, Minnesota, USA
PushingtheLimits, Artspace Gallery, Richmond, USA
2009   Foto-Fiber-Fabulous, Fiber Art Space, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Light Fantastic Exhibition, Main Street Gallery, Groton, New York, USA
Nothing New- Fiber Art from Recycled Material, Textile Centre, Joan Mondale Gallery, Minnesota, USA
Surface Matters, Surface Design Association Members’ Exhibition, Kansas City
Art Institute, Kansas City, USA
2007   Women of the World, Arcadia Art Centre, Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
2005   Real Beauty, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
Scratching the Surface, Texas Federation of Fiber Artists, San Antonio,
Texas, USA
San Antonio Celebrates Africa, Textures Gallery, San Antonio, Texas, USA
Women of the African Diaspora, Woman Made Gallery, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Real Beauty, Contemporary Arts Centre, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
2004   Women of the World, Tallinn Art Hall, Estonia; Gerduberg Cultural Centre, Reykjavik;  Akureyri Museum and Hof Cultural and Conference Center, Akureyri, Iceland; Onassis Cultural Centre, Athens, Greece; International Museum of Women, San Francisco, California; Mobile Museum of Art, Alabama and Brenau University, Georgia, USA
2003   Women of the World, YWCA Women’s Art Gallery, Ohio, USA
2002   Women of the World, Volvo Museum, Stockholm, Sweden; University of
Maryland, College Park, Maryland; University of New England, Maine and
Tucson Museum of Art, Arizona, USA
2000   Women of the World, White Columns, New York; Flint Institute of Arts, Michigan, USA
1998   Global Women’s Project, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, USA
1995   Holiday Art Show, Stanford University, California, USA
1994   The Ella Hill Hutch Art Exhibition, Ella Hill Hutch Center,San Francisco, California, USA
1991   Solo Graduate School Show, Wilshire/Sieroty Building, Los Angeles, California, USA
1988   Group Show, Alliance Française, Nairobi, Kenya
1987   Group Show, Goethe Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
Selected Book References

Paula Goldman. Imagining Ourselves: Global Voices from a New Generation of Women, International Museum of Women, Paw Prints, San Francisco, 2006.
Claudia DeMonte. Women of the World: A Global Collection of Art, Pomegranate Communications Inc., San Francisco, 2000.

Awards
2016   Long- listed, FT/OppenheimerFunds Emerging Voices Awards
2012   Sustainable Arts Foundation Spring Award
The 11th Quilt Nihon Award
2010   San Antonio Artpace Travel Award
Fiber Arts of San Antonio, Innovative Use of Material Award
1991   The Hilton International Award
Art Council Award, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Penelope Rigby Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Collections (Selected)

Museum of Decorative Arts and Design, Riga, Latvia
International Museum of Women, San Francisco, USA
World Bank, Accra, Ghana
Vehbi Koç Foundation, Istanbul, Turkey



   
October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, Bloomsbury, London WC1N 3AL Tel: + 44 (0)20 7242 7367