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Maker: Magdalene Anyango N. Odundo
born 1950, Kenya
Untitled #1
Date: 1994
Medium: Ceramic
Dimensions: H x W x D: 47.5 x 42.8 x 42.8 cm (18 11/16 x 16 7/8 x 16 7/8 in.)
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Geography: Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom
Object Number: 95-8-1
Search Terms:
Object is not currently on exhibit

Odundo's works illustrate a deliberate association with African and European modernist forms and refer, more generally, to world ceramic history and technique. She regards her pieces as nonutilitarian containers of form and color, describing the subtle, elegant shapes as "capturing the unfurling of a plant, the fall of a Victorian sleeve, the momentary stillness of a dancer's sleeve, or the silhouette of a Kenyan woman bound in layers of cloth" (Marla Berns. 1995. Ceramic Gestures: New Vessels by Magdalene Odundo. Santa Barbara: University Art Museum, University of California, p. 25. These works are hand-coiled, scraped smooth with a gourd, coated with slips and burnished. The color is dependent upon the firing technique. Orange-rust colors are achieved by firing the pieces in the oxidized atmosphere of a gas kiln.

Vessel composed of a globular ceramic body with a wide flaring neck, orange in color.

African Mosaic: Selections from the Permanent Collection, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., November 19, 2013–August 12, 2019) (installed July 12, 2014 to October 13, 2015)



Pavilion, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., October 2, 2002



Encounters with the Contemporary, National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., January 7, 2001-January 6, 2002



Ceramic Gestures: New Vessels by Magdalene Odundo, University Art Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara, March 15-April 23, 1995; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, June 30-August 20, 1995; Fowler Museum of Cultural History, University of California, Los Angeles, September 24, 1995-March 4, 1996; Newark Museum, April 3-June 30, 1996; National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., September 15, 1996-January 1, 1997; Indiana University Art Museum, Bloomington, January 17-March 15, 1997; Saint Louis Art Museum, April 29-July 6, 1997


Berns, Marla C. 1995. Ceramic Gestures: New Vessels by Magdalene Odundo. Santa Barbara: University of California Art Museum, p. 31 and back cover.



Berns, Marla C. 1996. Ceramic Gestures: New Vessels by Magdalene Odundo. Exhibition brochure. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, front cover.



Cooper, Emmanuel. 2004. Magdalene Odundo. Aldershot, England: Lund Humphries, pp. 62-63, 112, no. 86.



Hornbeck, S.E. 2013 Intersection Conservation Approaches to Ethnographic and Contemporary Art: Ephermeral Art at the National Museum of African Art. AIC Objects Specialty Group Postprings, vol 20, pp 211-12.



Hornbeck, Stephanie E. 2009. "A Conservation Conundrum: Ephemeral Art at the National Museum of African Art." African Arts 42 (3), p. 54, no. 4a-c.



Moffett, Dana, Stephanie Hornbeck and Stephen Mellor. 2002. "Common Problems in Archaeological and Ethnographic Conservation Intersect with the Contemporary: Case Studies of Two African Objects." ICOM Committee for Conservation Preprints, 13th Triennial Meeting, Rio de Janeiro. Paris: ICOM, p. 681.



Moffett, Dana and Stephen P. Mellor. 2003. The Curator-Conservator Collaboration: Remembering Roy Sieber." African Arts 36 (2), pp. 54-55, no. 19.



National Museum of African Art. 2007. 2007-2008 School Calendar: Featuring the new Let's Read about Africa and the Sounds of African Music programs. Museum calendar. Washington, D.C.: National Museum of African Art, Smithsonian Institution, December 2007.


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