Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness (exhibition)
Artist: Kader Attia, Andrew Esiebo, Zanele Muholi, Amanda Kerdahi M. and Jim Chuchu
Date of Action: August 2021
Location: Dakar, Senegal
Confronting Bodies: Raw Material Company
Description of Artwork: The exhibit "Precarious Imaging: Visibility and Media Surrounding African Queerness" was one of the first artistic exhibits focusing on the LGBTQ people in the continent.
Zanele Muholi, an activist and photographer from South Africa, showed her series "Faces and Phases" series, which she had worked on since 2007. The photographs, depict black lesbian and transgender women, had not been shown in Senegal before.
The Egyptian-American artist Amanda Kerdahi M. also presented work about African women. 100 Conversations, 2014, is a video of Kerdahi interviewing 100 women in Cairo about their sexualities while smoking with them.
Nigerian photographer Andrew Esiebo’s ongoing project “Who We Are”. The series, focused on gay men from Lagos. In January, the Nigerian president strengthened the country’s anti-gay laws; which stated same-sex couples could face up to 14 years in prison.
Jim Chuchu, who is from Kenya, where homosexuality is illegal but accepted in some parts of society, showed three works from his “Pagan” series, which explores the idea that homophobia was a concept introduced by missionaries and colonials.
The French-Algerian artist Kader Attia presents Collage, 2011, an hour-long video about the lives of transsexuals in Algiers and Mumbai.
The Incident: The Senegalese government shut down the exhibit after the gallery, Raw Material Company was vandalized and the building destroyed. Muslim fundamentalists are the alleged perpetrators of the attacks, motivated by their disagreement with the "reference to homosexuality."
Results of Incident: The exhibit was canceled and the Raw Material Company was shut down. The case is ongoing and the gallery has placed a hold on all future exhibitions that could stir similar reactions.