Black Looks - Including an African LGBTIQ+ Archive

Black & White, Conversations, Crea(c)tive Senses, Kenya, Queer

Takassa: rescuing our truths through cleansing & consciousness – Photo, Kenya

“Takassa: rescuing our truths through cleansing & consciousness” is a visual and textual collaboration between myself and Kenyan QLGBTI activist, Layla Wangari


Two of twelve portraits in this series – June 2017.

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Images © Sokari Ekine
In May/June 2017 I visited the coastal region of Kenya in a joint collaboration with Kenyan QLGBTI activist, Layla Wangari.  Specifically we visited, Mombasa, Malindi, Kipini, Lamu and Kilifi towns where we met with QLGBTI identified people.  Our conversations over the three weeks centered on the many challenges faced by QLGBTI peoples and the spiritual practices they embraced as a way of negotiating the complexities and contradictions of living a queer life.    From our conversations and travels along the coastal towns, we recognize that doing queerness looks different within Kenya, and within the intersectional realities of gender, class, economic access, religion, culture and moments in time.  Artistically our intent is to show a shared love, and understanding, as we engage with the possibilities open to the non-normative black body. At the same time, it is important for us not to engage in a queer ‘mis-reading’ of what we witness, and assign western notions of identity in a search for the African Black queer body. As a collaborative project we speak only for those of us who are contributors.

The photographs  are part of”Spirit Desire: The Vernacular of Freedom, and the Politics of Rescue in Queer Futures” which we have named “Takassa: rescue our truths through cleansing & consciousness” The photographs were taken in June 2017 and made possible through a Global Arts Fund grant.