In A Day of Rest, Wangari Mathenge explores themes of relocation and displacement, taking a closer look at domestic migration within Kenya, and in particular the narratives of young women who leave rural communities for the city, in search of work. In a series of monumental paintings depicting seven domestic workers Mathenge gives visibility to a marginalised group often dehumanised in media representations. In these multifaceted portraits, Mathenge’s sitters take control of their own stories, positing a refusal to be defined by adversity and instead, projecting their varied ambitions. Arranged variously in tableaux of three or on their own, each woman poses with an object of personal importance. In this way, Mathenge compels us to consider each of these seven women as individuals, challenging our attitudes, as well as their own, to their profession.
Presented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, this show runs until 11 November 2023.