Beatrice Wanjiku’s distinctive canvases and works on paper probe the human condition, delving into the psyche to question notions of reality and positionality. Taking her own experiences as a jumping off point for her investigations into existentialism, Wanjiku’s practice scratches away at the superficial images we project into daily life, peeling away the layers that constitute social norms to reveal spectral figures, Wanjiku believes represent our inner selves.
Her wraith-like figures float away from their monochrome habitats, sometimes alone, sometimes clustered in groups, their form bleeding into further abstraction. A recent body of her work comprising paintings and collages, takes the motif of the straitjacket as an entry point into a wider exploration of social boundaries and regimes of thought.
Some selected exhibitions include "Catch a Fire," New York (2021), "Mourning a Memory," Nairobi (2018), Personal Structures “Open Borders” 57th Venice Biennale, Italy (2017), VOLTA New York (2017), “When The Heaven Meets The Earth,” Cambridge London, (2017), 1:54 New York (2016), The OSTRALE 2015, Dresden, Germany (2015) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Richard Taittinger Gallery, New York, USA (2015) curated by Ugochukwu Smooth Nzewi.
She is a recipient of the UNESCO Aschberg Bursary (2013); Lava Thomas and Peter Danzig Fellowship Award (2013); Robert Sterling Clarke Foundation Fellowship (2011); and Alliance Francaise’s and Goethe-Institut’s Most Promising Female Artist Award (2006).
Her recent international artists’ residencies include Art Omi Residency, New York, USA (2018), the Iwalewa Haus Artist Residency Program, Bayreuth, Germany (2015), Djerassi Resident Artist Program, Woodside, CA (2013), and Vermont Studio Center Program, Johnson, VT (2011).