Kenyan, b. 1972
My Cave Call, 2021
Digital film (2K HD)
Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery
Photo by David Regen
My Cave Call opens on a pastoral scene of cows lowing and grazing in a pasture, then changes to a woman, played by Mutu, lounging on a blanket in a dappled forest. The woman oscillates between reading from a large leather-bound book and dozing in the sun. A young girl’s voice narrates, noting that the woman is in an “enchanted place.” In her slumber, the woman is transformed into a mythical being, her arms replaced by horns. The scene shifts to a glowing cavern in the depths of Suswa, a shield volcano in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, which is full of caves carved by lava and volcanic activity. For centuries, the caves have been considered holy sites where spiritual advisors have sought wisdom and guidance. When the mythical woman-creature reemerges, her horns billow smoke that mysteriously fills the entire cave.