Born in Chicago, raised and educated in Los Angeles and Pasadena with a year of post grad study in Tokyo, Japan, and residing in New York City in the early 70’s, Nengudi is currently living in Colorado.
Interested in the visual arts, dance, body mechanics and matters of the spirit from an early age these elements still play themselves out in ever changing ways in her art. She has always used a variety of natural (sand, dirt, rocks, seed pods) and unconventional (panty hose, found objects, masking tape) materials to fashion her works, utilizing these materials as a jazz musician utilizes notes and sounds to improvise a composition. The thrust of her art is to share common experiences in abstractions that hit the senses and center, often welcoming the viewer to become a participant.
Along with doing art Nengudi is strongly committed to arts education. Along with teaching courses at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the Visual Arts and Performing Arts Department, she has always been involved with bringing arts programs emphasing diversity to the communities in which she resides. Besides her individual efforts she has belonged to a variety of organizations with similar goals.