Clare Watt

Date of Award


Document Type

MA Project - Restricted Access (SIA Only)

Project Type

MA Project - Curatorial Proposal

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Art Business

First Advisor

Morgan Falconer

Second Advisor

Agnes Berecz


Presenting the beautifully carved furniture by designer Kim Mupangilai, who draws inspiration from her heritage and unique outlook on design. Born in Belgium and currently living and working in New York, Kim’s artistry extends beyond aesthetics, and delves into the rich tapestry of her cultural heritage. Having not visited the Congo, Kim relied on the books, stories and materials from her Father to piece together a coherent narrative. These books informed her practice and design, she read a lot about currency tools in central Africa and their significance to the culture and social status. These tools usually made of iron, shell, and wood were carved into objects which were then used for trade to purchase essential goods. In each meticulously crafted piece of furniture, mahogany, volcanic stone, banana fibre and rattan come together to create a seamless fusion of natural materials and cultural narratives. The Renee & Chaim Gross Foundation is the perfect backdrop for this exhibition. The foundation is located in the heart of historic Greenwich Village in New York City, and was the former home and studio of the renowned sculptor Chaim Gross who primarily carved in wood. The space shows the ambiance of a quintessential artists’s studio, offering a unique platform for this show, and allows another designer space to showcase their body of work alongside another artist’s sculptures. As the viewer you are able to recognise how Chaim Gross was influenced by African Tribal art in his totemic structures, and allows the you to explore this along side Kim’s body of work which also makes strong commentary on African culture. With Gross’s sculptures as the backdrop to Mupangilai’s work, this show aims to lead the viewer on a journey through the craft of the artists work and the cultural relationship within her art and beyond. As you wander through the exhibition, Kim’s designs breathe life into the gallery and studio, creating an immersive experience that transcends mere functionality. Each structure tells a story, a narrative woven from the threads of Kim’s personal journey, cultural roots and profound 3 appreciation for natural materials. “Woodcraft” not only showcases the mastery of material manipulation but also invites contemplation on the broader narrative of cultural influence.