Magdalene Odundo

Female, Person

1950 –

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Who is Magdalene Odundo?

Magdalene Anyango Namakhiya Odundo, OBE is a Kenyan-born British studio potter.

She was born in Nairobi and received her early education in both India and Kenya. She moved to England in 1971 to continue her training in graphic art. In 1974-1975, she visited Nigeria and Kenya to study traditional hand-built pottery techniques. She also traveled to San Ildefonso Pueblo, New Mexico to observe the making of blackware vessels. In 1976, Odundo received a BA from St. Joseph's College of Art and Design. She then earned a masters degree at the Royal College of Art in London. She taught at the Commonwealth Institute in London from 1976 to 1979 and at the Royal College of Art in London from 1979 to 1982. She lives and works in Surrey.

Odundo's best-known ceramics are hand built, using a coiling technique. Each piece is burnished, covered with slip, and then burnished again. The pieces are fired in an oxidizing atmosphere, which turns them a red-orange. A second firing in an oxygen-poor atmosphere causes the clay to turn black; this is known as reduction-firing.

Many of the vessels she creates are reminiscent of the human form, often following the curves of the spine, stomach, or hair. Her work may be found in museum and private collections worldwide. She is Professor of Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, England. Awarded the African Art Recognition Award by Detroit Art Institute in 2008. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire at the 2008 Birthday Honours. Magdalene Odundo is represented by Anthony Slayter-Ralph gallery.

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  • Surrey Institute of Art & Design, University College
  • Royal College of Art

on July 23, 2013


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