Wangechi Mutu b. 1972
Shoe Shoe (2010)

Shoe Shoe, is a short black and white clip reminiscent of CCTV footage, and captures the artist dressed as a vagrant and pushing a cart filled with shoes down the street, occasionally chucking them two at a time into the air. “I also love shoes. If I can find a way to use them I will,” Mutu told me by phone.

“We may think we have no power or voice and are completely lacking in space to say what we need to say. [But] there’s creativity in protest; there’s something courageous in throwing a shoe,” she said.

Both performances were directly inspired by a 2008 incident in Iraq where a reporter threw his shoes in anger at President George W. Bush during a press conference. The act of throwing, Mutu said, varies depending on the social context: in some cases, it is used in defiant protest, and in others the intent is malicious and violent, such as with stoning.

“I did come out of it with a lot of adrenaline. It really gets the heart and mind pumping, carrying a 20 pound basket full of pulp,” she said. “Honestly, I wish I could have carried more.”