Wangechi Mutu: I am Speaking, Are you Listening?

June 30, 2021

Sculpture by Wangechi Mutu

Directed by Dawit N.M. and narrated by Mutu herself, this poetic and intimate exploration of Wangechi Mutu’s exhibition, I Am Speaking, Are you Listening? takes viewers on a journey of Mutu’s work as it is dispersed throughout the Legion of Honor galleries. The film invites you to consider Mutu’s belief of the artist as a healer and to reflect on art histories and the possibility of a world defined by care and protection of both people and the planet.

About the filmmaker

Dawit N.M. is a director and photographer currently based in New York. Born in 1996 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he later moved to Hampton Roads, Virginia, with his family at the age of six. After establishing a deep interest in the visual arts, he became an ardent autodidact, committing himself fully to learning the art of filmmaking and later photography. His subjects have taken audiences into worlds of loss, devotion, intimacy, and innocence. In the same vein, the images question the transparency of narratives that are shaped by western influences. This relationship between identity and stereotypes inspired his first self-published photography book, Don’t Make Me Look Like The Kids On TV (2018). His directorial debut — a visual accompaniment for Ethiopian-American singer/songwriter Mereba’s debut album entitled The Jungle Is The Only Way Out (2019) — earned him a nod for Emerging Director at the 2019 American Black Film Festival. Dawit’s first exhibition, The Eye That Follows (2020), was on view at The Chrysler Museum in Norfolk, VA, summer of 2020.

About the composer

Nyokabi Kariũki is a Kenyan composer and sound artist based between Kenya and the US. Her sonic imagination is ever-evolving, with compositions ranging from classical contemporary to film, sound art, electronics and further includes research into (East) African musical traditions. She performs as a pianist, vocalist, and plays several instruments from the African continent, including the mbira. Her collaborations with filmmakers, choreographers and other artists have been seen at events from the Out of Africa Film Festival (Nairobi) to Lincoln Center’s Dance on Camera Festival (New York), and her concert works have been performed by piano duo Chromic, Grammy-winning percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion, among others — with additional commissions from ensembles including Tetractys New Music, the Heartland Marimba Quartet, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus Men’s Ensemble. Her art seeks to bridge her many influences — from her African upbringing to her Western classical training — together into a mélange of accessible, evocative, and meaningful art.