Funkalicious Fruit Field by Wangechi Mutu

Wangechi Mutu, My Strength Lies, 2006. Ink, acrylic, photo collage, contact paper, on Mylar, 228.6 x 137.2 cm. Image courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London. © Wangechi Mutu, 2006.
Nasher Museum Book Selection
Now available in the Nasher Museum Store

(Nasher Museum Members enjoy a 10% discount in the store)

Book Discussions:
Wednesday, June, 19, 11 AM
Sunday, June, 23, 2 PM
One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir

by Binyavanga Wainaina
One Day I Will Write About This Place brings readers into the life of a young Kenyan man finding his own path in the world in a country that is trying to do the same. Traveling through a boy’s experiences at boarding school, his attempt to study computer programming at university in South Africa, and his decision to return home, One Day I Will Write About This Place is a comical and relatable chronicle of a Kenyan boy’s attempt to survive his love of literature.

This selection coincides with Wangechi Mutu’s fusion of themes involving Kenyan history, diaspora, and globalization. Wainaina’s multicultural heritage mirrors Mutu’s representations that confront issues associated with the rise of persons with hyphenated backgrounds in our increasingly smaller world. Mutu’s reworkings and reconstructions of what are often static representations of Africans and African Americans goes along with Wainaina’s realistic depiction of an Africa often skewed by modern media and representations. Through his unpretentious depiction of Africa, Wainaina presents confusion on what it is to be a post-colonial African, much like Mutu presents the mixed representations of Africans and African Americans.
Review Excerpt:
“…Skip this review and head directly to the bookstore for Binyavanga Wainaina’s stand-up-and-cheer coming-of-age memoir…This is a book for anyone who still finds the nourishment of a well-­written tale preferable to the empty-­calorie jolt of a celebrity confessional or Swedish mystery.”New York Times Book Review (Alexandra Fuller)

Other Suggested Readings
Also available in the Nasher Museum Store

(Nasher Museum Members enjoy a 10% discount in the store)
Searching for Zion
by Emily Raboteau
Over a ten year period, Emily Raboteau traveled to all over the world to Jamaica, Ethiopia, Ghana, and the American South visiting Rastafarians, African Hebrews, and other displaced communities of African descent. They had all left their homes in search of Zion – their own Promised Land. Raboteau investigates people’s Exodus to their own Zion as she searches for her own.
Review Excerpt:
“…Emily Raboteau in essence fans out series of interpretive Rorschach blots, images gathered on an ambitious journey around the globe. She displays them end to end, like a storyboard: Each impressionistic, deeply personal vignette is a building block, detailing her far-flung search for 'home' — a 'promised land' that's as brick-and-mortar tangible as it is spiritually confirming.”Chicago Tribune Book Review (Lynell George)
Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe

This novel follows a celebrated tribe warrior, Okonkwo prior to British colonization in Africa. After an accident, Okonkwo is exiled for a period of time. On his return is surprised by the presence of Western missionaries who have come to impose their law and religion upon the tribe. The clash of cultures muddles the perception of right and wrong as Okonkwo’s world falls apart around him.
Review Excerpt:
“...Achebe's story-telling empowers the reader with a greater understanding and insight than his own characters. In true Hemingway style, he knows that to appear to write without a message is a more powerful way of writing one. 'Things Fall Apart' is simple, honest, unbiased, and has the most powerful ending of any book I've read. In today's world of clashing cultures, this is a historical dilemma from which all could learn.”The Independent Bok Review (Poppy Adams)
Possessing the Secret of Joy
by Alice Walker

Walker’s central character, Tashi, finds herself lost between cultural identities as she decides whether or not to have a circumcision procedure done. Her conflict is one that particularly affects women and though it is a taboo practice in America, she feels untrue to her African heritage by not having the procedure done as a child. After choosing to have the procedure done in an effort to identify more closely with her African roots, Tashi begins to lose her sanity and discovers the secret of joy in her attempt to regain it.
Review Excerpt:
“…Ms. Walker probes the various arguments in an extremely complex debate. She airs such unresolved moral problems as the idealization and deification of liberation leaders, the easy acceptance of corruption in a "good" political cause and the collusion that exists between oppressor and oppressed -- a collusion on which the oppressor's tyranny relies.”New York Times Book Review (Janette Turner Hospital)
Tar Baby
by Toni Morrison

The characters in Tar Baby grapple with their own definitions of authentic blackness and the white creation of black stereotypes. The African American characters in the story are detached from a black community and don’t seem to know how to incorporate black heritage into their lives, or even if they should do so. Both white and black stereotypes of African Americans come into play as one of the main characters, Jadine, struggles with whether or not accepting some sort of black culture into her life with conflict with the more “white” life she has created for herself.
Review Excerpt:
“…'Tar Baby' is, of course, a black novel, a novel deeply perceptive of the black's desire to create a mythology of his own to replace the stereotypes and myths the white man has constructed for him. It is also a book about a woman's anger at - and her denial of - her need for an impossible man, and in this regard it is a woman's novel too.”New York Times Book Review (John Irving)