Ingrid Mwangi Ludwigshafen Kenya
Born in 1975 in Nairobi, Kenya, and moving to Germany while still a teenager, Mwangi's work as a performance and video artist confronts issues of what she has called a "hyphenated" identity, using the distinctions of her physical presence as an artistic element. Her four-part video-still series Shades of Skin shows parts of her body - head, a scratched back, thighs and feet dangling above black earth - in widely ranging skin tones, darkening as they descend. In her two-channel video installation Cutting the Mask, Mwangi's image, shot from the shoulders up, appears on each screen. To the left, she slowly cuts away her dreadlocks while staring penetratingly into the camera; to the right, she wraps them around her head like a mask, which she then slowly manipulates with her hands without revealing her face. Is this the mask she wears, or alternately cuts away, in her dealings with her world? As the cutting ends, the left view of Mwangi fades out, revealing a grey concrete-block wall before continuing again. Mwangi, who lives and works in Ludwigshafen, teaches at the Academy of Visual Arts at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz.