Portraits in red investigates the concept of the prevailing beauty standards and challenges the perception of the human body. Both the dominance of the beauty and fashion industries in Europe and the US, as well as their capitalization and globalization of a homogenized standard of beauty serve as the springboard for the research of the piece. This work examines conflicting ideas, issues, and challenges associated with the politics of the body. These conflicts arise from a deep-rooted desire to conform and assimilate into a culturally, racially, and socially biased Western mold of beauty.
Being born into a bi-cultural Kenyan American family and having lived on three continents - Africa, North America, and Europe, Wanjiru Kamuyu continues to be intrigued by each society's general perception of beauty and the controversies surrounding body image. Based on the 2013 reconstruction of her 2005 solo work Spiral, Kamuyu re-explores the same concept and this time in collaboration with choreographer/dramaturge Robyn Orlin. Kamuyu's attention to the notion and definition of beauty is coupled with the historical and current pervasive objectification, hypersexualization and exoticization of the human body. Her body, being both female and African, serves as the focal point of inquiry in the work.
Kenyan American｜Wanjiru Kamuyu
A Kenyan native currently residing in Paris, France, is an associate artist at Theater L'Onde in Vélizy, France, and a Live Feed artist at New York Live Arts in the US. As a performer, she has collaborated with numerous artists in both the US and Europe, including Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Bill T. Jones, Robyn Orlin, Emmanuel Eggermont, and Jean-Paul Goude, among others. Kamuyu also performed in both television and Broadway musicals, including The Lion King (Paris) and FELA! (UK and Equity European and US tours).
Kamuyu founded the dance company WKcollective in 2009, which is an associate company of the creative production agency camin aktion in Montpellier, France. Her choreographic projects have toured the US, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Choreographic commissions include musicals, theater, and dance. She also serves as artistic consultant and choreographic assistant for various dance projects.
While on tour, she offers master classes and workshops for both professionals and the general public. Kamuyu holds an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Performance and Choreography from Temple University (Philadelphia, PA). She has served as Visiting Guest Professor at Mills College (USA) and is currently core faculty for University of South Florida’s Dance in Paris semester and summer programs.
photo by Jennifer Jones
Choreographer and Performer: Wanjiru Kamuyu
Dramaturge: Robyn Orlin
Music (original composition): Nate May
Music (original and arrangement): LACRYMOBOY
Costume: Robyn Orlin
Lights: Cyril Mulon
Photography: Stephane Choucan
Presenter: Taipei Performing Arts Center
In Partnership with CN D
Supported by CHANEL
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