Jackie Karuti works with video, drawing, painting, installation and performance to explore themes of death, sexuality, identity and urban culture. In her recent exhibition There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About (2016) at the Goethe Institute, Nairobi, Karuti depicts imagined worlds amongst stars and oceans. Considering situations in which agency is limited, Karuti uses the idea of the Black Atlantic – an underwater civilisation descended from slaves thrown overboard during the middle passage between Africa and the Americas – to reflect on what it might mean to migrate to worlds that exist in the imagination. Her on-going project I Can’t Wait To See You (2014-) uses video and photography to explore how space, gender and identity structure urban environments, both protecting and silencing individuals and communities.
During her residency at Gasworks, Karuti let the city lead her artistic process. Using a set of imaginary characters, including a murder of crows and a wandering black man trying to find his way home, she continued her exploration of other worlds and imaginary narratives. These processes were documented as a series of final outcomes for the Open Studios event through drawings, texts and video, which will be used to generate a new publication.
Jackie Karuti lives and works in Kenya. Her recent exhibitions include There Are Worlds Out There They Never Told You About, Goethe Institute, Nairobi (2016) and Labyrinth, Kuona Trust, Nairobi (2015). Karuti was awarded with a Young Art Fund Award by YAA, Amsterdam and the Moving Africa Travel Grant by the Goethe Institute, Nairobi. She worked as an artist in Residence in Kampala, Uganda, Johannesburg, South Africa and Lagos, Nigeria.
Jackie Karuti's residency was supported by Mercedes Vilardell. With thanks to Bisi Silva, CCA, Lagos. She was hosted in the Juan Yarur Torres Residency Studio.