Insight to Magdalene Odundo and her practice

Magdalene Odundo DBE is one of the greatest ceramic artists working today. Her distinctive, burnished vessels are informed by a range of art and craft traditions from around the world. The Fitzwilliam Museum’s display (on show 5 October 2021 - 24 July 2022) marks 50 years since Odundo moved from Kenya to Cambridge to take an Art Foundation Course at Cambridge School of Art, and brings together a selection of the global ceramics from Cambridge collections and examples of her own unmistakable work.

A twist of the hand

James’ practice – and his art – have been shaped by the use of pattern and colour in ancient Rome. Preserved architectural details, remnants of colour, geometric mosaics, and objects all serve as points of departure for the creation of new works, carefully sited among MOCA’s cast collection.

In this online exhibition, James talks us through not only his works but also his process.

View the online exhibition.

Goddesses

Assuming the Greek gods are immortal and therefore have a continued presence, artist Marian Maguire wonders: would they do things differently? Would they stay the same and maintain the status quo or would they choose to change, if they could see us now? Would they stay, or would they walk away?

Visit the online exhibition

 

Woven Histories

Botanical illustration is often admired for its beauty and accuracy, which can mask the ways in which the plant was acquired in the first place and the brutality of the war and violence which enabled the plant to be seen, studied, collected and painted.

In the collage Woven Histories, Claire O'Brien weaves together the Fitzwilliam Museum's beautiful watercolour of the plant josephinia imperatricis, named for the French Empress Joséphine, with a commanding image of Joséphine's husband Napoleon Bonaparte. It's impossible to see one without the other.

Josephine Hybrid

What can the botany-loving Empress Joséphine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte, tell us about the relationship between science and empire? 

Helen Grundy's artwork Josephine Hybrid is inspired by a botanical watercolour in the Fitzwilliam Museum by Pierre-Joseph Redouté. The watercolour depicts the plant josephinia imperatricis, named after Empress Joséphine. In this collage, Helen splices together josephinia imperatricis with a portrait of its namesake.