Kenyan-born professor named Chancellor of UK Arts University


Kenyan-born professor named Chancellor of UK Arts University

World-renowned Kenyan-born artist and Professor of Ceramics, Magdalene Odundo, has hit global headlines, with the West Surrey College of Art and Design graduate poised to succeed Dame Zandra Rhodes in June 2018 as University for the Creative Arts Chancellor.

Professor Odundo boasts an impressive Curriculum Vitae and a wealth of multidisciplinary experience. After graduating with a First Class degree in 3D Design in 1976, she started teaching at the Commonwealth Institute in London, before joining the Royal College of Art where she attained her Master’s degree. She then assumed the role of Professor of Ceramics at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in 2001.

It was not long before she was feted with the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honor’s List for services to the Arts. Her name features prominently in the African Arts awards and so does her ceramic art work, exhibited in museums worldwide.

It is not the first time the Professor is in the news. In August 2012, she smashed her own ceramic British auction record from April 2010.

Her 1985 burnished terracotta vessel which sold for Ksh4.3 million only opened doors for her, with her untitled 1991 vessel fetching more at Sotheby’s New York two years later, a record Ksh12 million, making her artwork the most expensive to be sold by a living British ceramicist.

Despite the high accolades, she maintains her simplicity and humility. Speaking about her works over the years, Odundo says: “I didn’t become an artist to see my work sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars, but it is a pleasant surprise and I feel very happy to see people appreciate the work that I love to create.”

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Story By Teddy Otieno
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