Artist

Magdalene Odundo

Oct. 20 - Nov. 10, 2021 | Soneva Fushi

Magdalene Odundo was born in Nairobi, Kenya, and received her early education in both India and Kenya. Best known for her hand-built ceramics, Magdalene Odundo originally trained as a graphic designer. Her pieces are not made traditionally using a wheel, but are instead creating using a coiling technique. Her pieces are left unglazed and are burnished by hand, turning red-orange clay pieces into black pots or vessels that are as distinctive in their color as they are in the forms she creates by hand. Amorphous in shape yet resembling the human body in curvature and sinuosity, the pots are vehicles for thinking about the human body and its relationship to space.

Her influences vary widely, from Cycladic figures to modern sculptures. She uses the same types of techniques used by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and likes to take inspiration from countries such as China and Mexico. Many of the vessels Odundo creates are reminiscent of the human form, often following the curves of the spine, stomach, or hair. Furthermore, the shape of expression of her vessels are symbolic of the female body; one of her most famous pieces is a black and ocher vessel with a curved base and elongated neck resembling the form of a pregnant woman. Her work is now a part of permanent collections of nearly 50 international museums.