Women in Africa and the Diaspora: “Julie Mehretu”

“I don’t think of architectural language as just a metaphor about space, but about spaces of power, about ideas of power.”

Julie Mehretu is an artist born in Ethiopia, raised in Michigan, educated in Senegal and Rhode Island and currently residing in New York. Mehretu’s complex pieces feature architectural forms, fictional landscapes, and grids layered with scribbles, smudges and shapes of different size and colors. Her paintings are more than just assemblage of random colors and lines. The underlying structure of her work consists of socially charged spaces such as government buildings, museums, stadiums, schools, and airports.

“I think architecture reflects the machinations of politics, and that’s why I am interest in it as a metaphor for those institutions.”

Julie Mehretu has received numerous awards including The MacArthur Award in 2005, often referred to as the “genius grant.” The American Art Award granted by The Whitney Museum of American Art (2005,) and the Berlin Prize: Guna S. Mundheim Fellowship at The American Academy in Berlin (2007).

-Bilphena Yahwon