Senegal art show to feature LGBT Africans

Photo from Andrew Esiebo's "Who We Are" project showing images of gay men in Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of AndrewEsiebo.com)
Photo from Andrew Esiebo’s “Who We Are” project showing images of gay men in Nigeria. (Photo courtesy of AndrewEsiebo.com)

The Art Newspaper reports:

An exhibition about homosexuality in Africa is due to go ahead in Senegal next month, despite a leading academic advising the gallery against it. “The show will cause controversy, but we will not censor ourselves,” says the independent curator Ato Malinda, although she declined to reveal the name of the academic.

“Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness” (7 May-18 July), will feature works by Kader Attia, Andrew Esiebo, Zanele Muholi, Amanda Kerdahi M. and Jim Chuchu. Malinda is co-organising the show with Koyo Kouoh, the artistic director at Raw Material Company, a non-profit art centre in Dakar where the exhibition opens as part of the informal programme for Dak’Art 2014, the 11th Biennale of Contemporary African Art (9 May-8 June).

The aim, says Malinda, is to shed light on a persecuted African minority and to examine the African media’s often denigrating coverage of same-sex-couples. Homosexual [activity] is illegal in Senegal, as it is in 37 other African countries. …

Zanele Muholi, an activist and photographer from South Africa, is showing her popular “Faces and Phases” series, which she has worked on since 2007. The photographs, depicting black lesbian and transgender women, have not been shown in Senegal before. … “They might be our daughters or the girl next door,” Malinda says. “It is important that people see these women in this light.”

Detail of work by Jim Chuchu from his "Pagans" series. (Photo courtesy of JimChuchu.com)
Detail of work by Jim Chuchu from his “Pagans” series. (Photo courtesy of JimChuchu.com)

The Egyptian-American artist Amanda Kerdahi M. is also presenting a work about African women. 100 Conversations, 2014, is a video of Kerdahi interviewing 100 women in Cairo about their sexualities while smoking with them. Women are forbidden from smoking in public in Egypt. To protect their identity, the camera zooms in on the interviewees’ mouths and the conversations were filmed without sound.

Gay men from Lagos are the subject of the Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo’s ongoing project “Who We Are.” …

Jim Chuchu, who is from Kenya, where homosexuality is illegal but accepted in some parts of society, is showing three works from his “Pagan” series, which explores the idea that homophobia was a concept introduced by missionaries and colonials. “Chuchu’s work speaks to a known past when the word ‘sodomy’ was unknown by us, and same-sex activities were an accepted preference,” Malinda says.

Meanwhile, the French-Algerian artist Kader Attia presents Collage, 2011, an hour-long video about the lives of transsexuals in Algiers and Mumbai.

“The time is ripe to talk about homosexuality in Africa,” Malinda says.

For more information, see the full article in The Art Newspaper,  “Gay art show to go on in Senegal.”

Written by Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart is a 45-year journalism veteran living in Southern California. He is the president of the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, which supports LGBTQ+ rights advocacy journalism, Erasing 76 Crimes. Contact him at info@76crimes.com.

7 Comments

Leave a Reply

    Leave a Reply

    Welcome to a second editor at Erasing 76 Crimes

    Will UN goals exclude gays, lesbians and transsexuals?