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Kenyan woman makes History in New York, USA

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A Kenyan-born, Yale educated woman has  made history after four of her majestic sculptures were unveiled last week on the prestigious facade of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York City, USA.

Wangechi Mutu’s work of art is making heads – many heads – turn in the city popularly known as The Big Apple.

This is the first time ever in the Museum’s 117-year history that an installation has been made at the entrance of the historical building.

Ms Mutu’s commissioned project, The NewOnes, will free Us, features four bronze sculptures, titled The Seated I, II, III, and IV (2019). They will be exhibited until January 12, 2020.

In their website, The Met said of Ms Mutu’s work: “As with all of her work, these pieces engage in a critique of gender and racial politics that is as pointed as it is poetic and fantastic.

“With The NewOnes, will free Us, the artist has reimagined a motif common to the history of both Western and African art: the caryatid, a sculpted figure, almost always female, meant to serve as a means of either structural or metaphorical support.”

Ms Mutu, a dual citizen (Kenya and US) who is is married to Italian Mario Lazzaroni, is known primarily for her painting, sculpture, film and performance work, in a career spanning over 20 years.

Last week, she said in a statement:

“The poised, stately figures I have created for the MET facade derive inspiration from my interest in ancient and modern practices that reflect on the relationship between women and power across various traditions….They look as if they are charged with a role and responsibility. They have come to look and bear witness, and to reflect back to us what we are.”

This important installation is part of a new series of contemporary commissions at The Met in which the Museum invites artists to create new works of art inspired by the collection, establishing a dialogue between the artist’s work, the collection, the space, and audiences.

Ms. Mutu, who has lived and worked from her Brooklyn residence since 2006,  told New York Times (NYT):  “I’m not back, I’m back and forth.”

According to NYT, their daughters, ten and eight, go to school in Nairobi, Kenya.

Designed by Richard Morris Hunt and completed in 1902, the facade features four niches that were always intended to house free-standing sculptures, but have long lain empty. In filling them now with Mutu’s extraordinary sculptures, the Museum brings to fruition a dream 117 years in the making.

Mutu stages a feminist intervention, liberating the caryatid from her traditional duties and her secondary status. Mutu does so, moreover, in the context of a Neoclassical facade, whose original architects sought to convey a far more conservative set of values.

Simultaneously celestial and humanoid, each sculpture is unique, with individualized hands, facial features, ornamentation, and patination. Mutu’s embellishments take a great deal of inspiration from customs practiced by specific groups of high-ranking African women. The horizontal and vertical coils that sheathe the figures’ bodies, functioning as garment and armor all in one, reference beaded bodices and circular necklaces, while the polished discs set into different parts of the sculptures’ heads allude to lip plates. Belonging to no one time or place, Mutu’s hybrid figures are invariably stately, resilient, and self-possessed. They announce their authority and autonomy. Appearing to have recently arrived on the facade of The Met, they are the “new ones” who bring word of new ideas and new perspectives.

The NewOnes, will free Us constitutes one of Mutu’s most important and remarkable bodies of work to date, the culmination of two decades of sustained artistic experimentation and rigorous research into the relationship between power, culture, and representation.

 

 

 

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Diaspora

VIDEO: New laws which could have US Green Card holders deported take effect as thousands rush to acquire Citizenship

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If you are a Green Card holder in the US and you  think you can do whatever you like without running into  the risk of deportation, then think again. There are some new laws going into effect that could get permanent residents deported.

Under the newa Trump rules, a simple mistake is no longer an excuse and simply not knowing what the new rules are could get someone holding a green card kicked out of the United States for good. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has instituted some new rules that will take effect in 2020.

Some of the new green card rules for 2020 which could get you in trouble if not obeyed are:
  •  Failing to admit you’re an immigrant on your tax returns or failing to report some of your income could get you deported
  • Men between the ages of 18 and 25 who hold a green card must register with the U.S. Selective Service; failure to do so could lead to deportation
  • An extended overseas vacation could cost someone their green card – it could be considered “abandonment” of the green card. WATCH:

 

Young men between the ages of 18 and 25 who hold a green card and do not register with the Selective Service could also be deported.  Even a vacation overseas could cost someone their green card.

Some are no longer willing to take the chance by simply holding a green card, which must be renewed every ten years, and instead they’re becoming U.S. citizens to avoid deportation.
She says calling these infractions a mistake is no longer an option.

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Diaspora

Kenyan Woman in the Diaspora Found Dead in Her Room

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Dorene Wangare, a 36-year-old Kenyan was found dead in her room in Qatar on Wednesday morning.

This, according to her family, was barely two months after she moved to the Gulf nation.

According to Wangare’s mobrother , she traveled to Qatar in November last year and was optimistic the job she had landed there would help her earn enough money to support her two kids. Her son, 14, is a Form Two student while her eight-year-old daughter is in Class Three.

“She was the family breadwinner and would come to our rescue whenever the landlord locked us out due to accumulated rent arrears,” said Mable Masitsa, the deceased’s mother.

When thirty-six-year-old Dorine Wangare bade her family goodbye to travel to Qatar in November last year, she knew her dream of helping her poor mother and siblings had finally come true.

The mother of two was excited at the prospect of working in the Middle East country according to her follower brother, Reinhard Mwangi. Little did Dorine know that that was her last goodbye to her family.Dorine was optimistic the job she had landed in Qatar would earn her enough money to help her support her son, 14 and daughter 8, who are in Form Two and class three respectively.

“She was the family breadwinner and would come to our rescue whenever the landlord locked us out due to accumulated rent arrears,” said Mable Masitsa, the deceased’s mother. According to Ms Masitsa, her daughter never thought her journey to the Middle East would be her last with family.Dorine died in Qatar on Tuesday night moments after she had a long chat with her mother and the brother leaving her family with many unanswered questions even as they await a postmortem report.

Dorine Wangare (standing second right) before she left for Qatar. She was found dead in her room on Wednesday morning. [Courtesy]

“Dorine called inquiring about school fees for her two children and other items required in school so that she could budget for them. The news of her death came as a shock. I cannot believe my daughter left us in such a mysterious way,” said Ms Masitsa.A somber mood engulfed their home at Shitawa in the outskirts of Kakamega town with family, friends and church members condoling with Ms Masitsa.“I talked to my sister until late into the night. She told me it was too cold in Qatar and she had been forced to put on two sweaters and a pair of trousers.

I told her to stay indoors and that was the last communication I had with Dorine,” recalled Mr Mwangi.According to Mwangi, the sister developed some complications whenever the weather was too cold.“She was allergic to cold weather. A friend of hers said she opted to use a Jiko in her room where she would be discovered dead on Wednesday morning.”Dorine’s Kenyan friends in Qatar have been updating the family on how things have been progressing since the death of their kin.However, Ms Masitsa and her son are at loss on how they will facilitate the transportation of the body from Qatar to Kenya.“We don’t have anywhere to run to for help.

Dorine was supposed to send money for rent, food and school fees but death took her away, it is a pity to imagine we might not be able to see her body anytime soon,” she said.  The family is appealing to the national government to help them have the body airlifted from Qatar to Kisumu.“It will be easy for us to make arrangements to have the body ferried here even though we face the dilemma of where to bury her,” said Mwangi.It was not the first time Dorine had travelled to the Middle East in search of greener pastures.She first spent at least four years in Saudi Arabia where her employer tortured her before returning home.The deceased adds to the growing list of Kenyans who endure suffering in the quest for employment opportunities in the Middle East.

-Agencies

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Diaspora

UPDATE: The late Eric Mwangi Thumbi of Atlanta to be buried this Sunday

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We’d like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you for standing with the Thumbi family after the promotion to glory of Eric Mwangi. God bless you for your continuing prayers, encouragement and financial gifts!

The Funeral Service will be held Sunday Jan 19th starting at 2pm at West Cobb Funeral Home.
Address: 2480 Macland Rd, Marietta, GA 30064

Mwangi will be laid to rest afterwards at 3pm at Kennesaw Memorial Park.
Address: 1306 Whitlock Ave NW, Marietta, GA 30064

Eric was a beloved son to Elder Gathara Thumbi and Apostle Nyambura Thumbi .
Brother to Malkia Mumbi Hornsby, Anthony Mwangi Thumbi, Anne Wangui Thumbi , Mumbi Rehema Thumbi and Muthoni Wangui Thumbi. Brother in love to Kazha Hornsby, and Hannah Nyambura Mwangi . Uncle to Makena Hornsby. He rested on Tuesday Evening 1/7/2020 .

God bless you!

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