Magdalene Odundo

Magdalene Odundo is an accomplished artist, specialising in crafting handmade ceramics. She draws inspiration from countries like China and Mexico and also from the Ancient Greeks and Romans. She is a Professor of Ceramics at the University for the Creative Arts (formerly Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College) in Farnham, England, and has previously taught at the Commonwealth Institute in London and other institutions in America and Europe.

Born in 1950, Odundo studied in Kenya and India. Her début exhibition was held at African Heritage during the United Nations Decade of Women’s Conference in Nairobi in 1985. She has received numerous awards because of her work, including the Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours’ List for services to the arts in 2008, becoming the only Kenyan to receive this honour. She has also received the African Art
Recognition Award by Detroit Art Institute’s Friends of African and African-American Art. She was appointed Patron & Trustee of the National Society for Education of Art & Design (NSEAD).

Odundo has had her work regularly displayed in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1977. Her exhibitions have been featured in the UK, US, the Netherlands and Germany. Her works of art have been on display all over the world. She has been a lecturer at various tertiary institutions around the world and has been featured also as an author and subject of various publications, including books and articles focusing on ceramics and poetry. She has been featured in various video productions including Out of Africa, Magdalene Odundo and Ceramic Gestures: A Conversation with Magdalene Odundo.

Odundo has a Bachelor’s degree in the Arts from St. Joseph’s College of Art and Design, as well as a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London. In the UK, shee has established herself as one of the world’s leading ceramicists. Her exquisite pottery, that she fondly refers to as “vessels”, fetched Ksh21 million at a Sotheby’s auction in 1994. Locally, her work is exhibited at the Nairobi Heritage Gallery and at African Heritage.

She is more than just a ceramicist; indeed, she is celebrated as one of the leading teachers of the arts in Britain.

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